If you have a dishwasher, great! Unpack your jars if they're new, separate the lids, jars and rings and put them in the dishwasher. If you have a basket that holds small items you can put the lids in it...this is the piece that looks like a disc. I put the rings on the top rack around one of the spokes and then place the jar partially on top of the ring to hold it down. If you're concerned about getting your jars super clean, hit the temperature boost button on your dishwasher.
When the dishwasher is finished, leave the door closed and the jars inside so they stay warm. When you pour the jam in it will be hot. It's better if the jars aren't cold to prevent breakage from the temperature change.
Once you are getting closer to the time to fill the jars, remove the lids (the part that looks like a disc) from the dishwasher using tongs to be sure they remain clean. Place the lids in a small pot with hot water, put it on the stove on simmer. You don't want to boil the lids as this may damage the rubber sealant around the edge. Just simmer them to keep them warm.
THESE ARE THE JARS I LIKE TO USE. 8 oz. & 4 oz. BALL CRYSTAL JELLY JARS
When you're ready to begin filling the jars, remove them from the dishwasher by only handling the outside of the jar. Take care to not grab the rim so they remain clean. The rings do not come in contact with the food so
extra care in handling them isn't really necessary in my opinion.
If you don't have a dishwasher, no problem. You can wash all the parts in warm soapy water and sterilize them on the stove. There are instructions and a tutorial that explain the preparation and processing of jars at the Ball web site. Just do a quick search for 'getting started' and you should see it.
The next post will be about testing for gel point.
Thanks for reading,