It appears that I don't do things by half measures. I made some raspberry jam once for the Linzer Torte recipe and got it into my head that I would need lots of jam jars for future jam-making. I bought a s-load of jars and they have been sitting in my pantry unused for months... until yesterday when I decided to make lemon curd for lemon cheesecake squares.
I realized that storage of homemade preserves wasn't just a matter of pouring and screwing the lid shut. There's like, germs and things to be considered.
I did some Googling and discovered an easy enough method to get your jars sterilized prior to use. After all, you're spending lots of time/money/effort in making your produce. It'd be a shame to let it spoil because of a dirty container.
Jar sterilization sounds daunting and I certainly found myself thinking "do I reallllllly need to?" but it's actually very easy.
Jar Sterlization Procedure:
1. First, preheat your oven to 110 degrees Celsius.
2. Pop your jar/s and lid/s (depending on how many you need; I advise you to only sterilize as you need them because otherwise, they'll probably get contaminated again by the time you use them) in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
4. Using tongs and a teatowel/oven mit if necessary to remove the jar/s and lid/s from the saucepan and place in the oven on a rack. The jar/s and lid/s should be positioned upside down.
The rule is that if you're making a hot jam or preserve, it should be poured into the jar while hot and cold things should be put into a cooled jar. I guess that's to prevent the glass cracking from temperature difference, but I can't think of what cold things would be stored in a jar. Homemade nut butter maybe?
My cute jar-labelling stickers
Anyway I'm planning to use this technique everytime I need to store something. It's easy! Don't skip this step and risk your food or your belly by letting germs take advantage of your laziness.