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Follow this process to make the perfect pickles

August 31, 2011

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1. Fill a stockpot with enough water to cover your jars by 1 inch. Bring to a boil.

2. Inspect canning jars for cracks and discard defective ones. Thoroughly wash the jars in hot soapy water or run through the dishwasher. Wash lids and screw bands. To ensure a good seal, work only with unused lids each time.

3. Fill jars to within 1/4 inch of the top with hot pickles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, wet paper towel before adding the lid. Screw on the bands.

4. Set a rack or a thick folded dishtowel on the bottom of the pot of boiling water. With a sturdy pair of tongs, place the jars in the pot.

5. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. If necessary, add more boiling water to cover the jars by 1 inch. With tongs, remove the jars from the water and set on a dishtowel to cool.

6. After 12 hours, check the jars to ensure that they are sealed. To do that, press on the center of each lid; it should remain concave.

7. Label and date the jars by writing on the lids with permanent marker. Remove the screw bands to prevent them from rusting. Store the jars for up to 1 year in a cool, dark place.

Sally Pasley Vargas