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When making jams and preserves you obviously need to sterilize the jars. After the jars have been sterilized do you need to use them straight away or can you sterilize them in advance and keep them for when you're ready to use them?

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@Aaronut: done... I was just looking at that question in the home page thinking "that doesn't look right" :) –  lomaxx Jul 11 '10 at 13:56
    
of course, if one is not American it becomes sterelised :) –  Pulse Jul 11 '10 at 14:04
    
@Pulse: It's still spelled with an i after the r! –  Aaronut Jul 11 '10 at 14:12
    
Yea, that was a typo, my bad :) –  Pulse Jul 11 '10 at 14:56
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2 Answers

You should be packing the jars while they are still hot, for rawpacked or hot-packed products. For hot-packed products, this helps avoid the risk of the jar breaking.

For great instructions on how to can at home, see the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

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Great reference! –  hobodave Jul 17 '10 at 3:49
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Personally I'd sterilise my jars as they are needed. Doing so ensures there are no bacteria and also keeps the jars slightly warm. Placing a potentially hot substance into a cold jar is asking for trouble.

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