How to Preserve Food in Glass Jars

Preserving in glass jars (also known as ‘canning’) is a great way of prolonging the life of food. Heat needs to be used in the process to kill off harmful micro-organisms, so it is important to get things right. Ideally, produce needs to be eaten within a year. This means that you can enjoy summer fruits all through the winter, then stock up again the next year when the prices tumble again. It is a relatively simple process, but you will need some fairly inexpensive equipment. Most importantly, to make it worthwhile, you will need to have plenty of produce ready to can and a few hours set aside to get the job done.

How to Preserve Food in Glass Jars How to Preserve Food in Glass Jars

What You’ll Need

All you really need is to start collecting empty jars. Clean them and collect them as you use them; screw-top jars are the best, particularly those with plastic on the inside of the jar lid. You can buy empty jam jars or special preserving jars, but these are not really necessary. You will also need some greaseproof paper, cutting out circles to fit the jars as you will be dropping these into the jars on top of the produce. These inhibit the growth of mould and stop a thick film forming at the top of the jar.

Getting Started

Now that you have a good collection of jars and matching lids, put the jars into a hot oven to sterilize them. Ideally, when you start putting the produce into the jars, the glass should be very hot in order to dissuade bacteria. Be careful with the lids too; do not try to sterilize plastic lids in the oven (or metal ones with plastic inserts!). Lay out everything you will be using and give yourself plenty of space. Firstly, wash the fruit or vegetables. Now you are ready to start putting the food into the jars.

Next Step

Fill the jars with the fruit or vegetables, but not to the very top – make sure that the food is not going to be touching the lid of the jar. You can either pack in the fruit or vegetables raw or you can put them in ready cooked. Once the jars are full, for fruit, fill the jar with either syrup or fruit juice, and for vegetables, boiling water or salted water. Allow for expansion, so leave some space in the neck of the jar. Now put the lids on and label the jars once they have cooled down. Make sure you tighten them up once more before storing.


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