“The best thing to do is invest in one of the Ball canners. It comes with the internal tray that the jars sit in, your funnel, your metal wand for the lids, your tongs.
“While your cooking the jam, you want to have your canning pot on the stove, with water in it and the tray insert inside—and you want to have jars actually in there, inside. You want to bring the water up to a boil and then turn it off or keep it simmering at really, really low heat, so the jars are sterilizing as your making the jam. You want to have another small pot on the stove with water in it, and you want that pot to be a little bit warm, but not hot, with the lids—just the top piece. You don’t need to sterilize the outside ring because it’s never touching the lid of your jar.
“After you fill the jars—we use a pitcher, which makes it easier to pour—you can follow the Ball canning guide for processing your jam. But there’s always a few things that you aren’t going to think about that you’ll want to have ready—like paper towels so you can clean off the rims of the filled jars, before you put the lid on. And a towel to put the jars on when you take them out of the water bath, so if a jar falls over it’s OK—it won’t break.
“And then there’s the conversation about how to put the jars in the water bath and how to take them out. You put them in sideways. If you don’t do that, water will spray out of the canner and maybe hit you, and if the water is hot, you might get burned. You take them straight out, pour off the water on the lid, and the place them on the towel.”