When making homemade preserves, you should always sterilise jars and lids to ensure more extended storage and to prevent any sickness. All your hard work will be lost if the jars are contaminated. It is vital that jars are clean, with no lingering smells, and are completely dry. Do not use chipped or cracked jars.
There are two ways to sterilise jars: first in a preheated oven 180C, 350F, Gas 4 for 10 minutes. Put the jars upright on a baking tray without their lids and place in the oven. Removed from the oven after 10 minutes and use immediately for jams or chutneys. The second method is to put the jars in a deep pan cover with boiling water, bring back to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Remove carefully and stand upside down on a clean kitchen towel to dry. You can use this method to sterilise the lids.