When making my hamper, I discovered that, to make things keep, jars had to be sterilised. My sister and I were baffled, and after spending about an hour on the internet came up with a (relatively) stress free method. Although tedious, sterilising will help preserve your confections.
I used ordinary, used jam jars, kilner bottles and jars. Ordinary jam jars need the lids to be sterilised separately, however kilner jars/bottles with clip lids can be sterilised all at once.
1) Heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan. Rinse and wash the jars/bottles in hot, soapy water. Give them a final rinse and holding them on the OUTSIDE, place on a baking tray.
2) Put the tray in the oven and leave the jars/bottles to dry for about 20 minutes. You may need to time this with a recipe if you need the jars hot.
3) Take the jars/bottles out with oven gloves (they will be hot), being careful not to touch the inside. When filling with preserve, make sure both are at the SAME TEMPERATURE.
For example, my chutney needs to be hot and go into hot jars, whereas the irish cream goes into cool bottles.
1) Place the lid(s) in a small pan filled with boiling water. Heat the water so it is simmering, and leave the lids to boil for at least 10 minutes. Drain the water and remove the lids, holding the outside. When cool enough to touch, screw tightly onto the jar filled with preserve.
I hope that this works for you. If you have any questions, please ask. Just remember: the preserve must be the same temperature as the jar/bottle.