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Dear Editor,

I have read that you have to be really particular about cleaning your jars before canning, boiling them, and keeping them piping hot before canning. I have a dishwasher, and while they won’t be boiled, they will be clean and hot. Is this sufficient?

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

You have to be more particular about jars you use in a water bath canner than you do those used in a pressure canner. A water bath canner only gets to 212 degrees before boiling, which is insufficient to kill certain types of bacteria, so cleanliness when doing a water bath process is important. A pressure canner, however, operates at much higher temperatures – around 240 degrees. This is sufficient to kill anything that might be lurking in those jars. Now, this doesn’t mean you can take a jar out of a box, blow the dust off, and use it! You still need to wash them thoroughly and heat them up. But the canning process itself offers a degree of protection. I use my dishwasher all the time to wash and heat my canning jars.

The Editor

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Dear Editor,

I bought a blueberry bush from the garden center and planted it in my yard. I was very careful to mix the dirt with peat moss, compost, and manure, and to mulch the plant with pine bark after it was planted. I’ve fertilized it with organic fertilizer. The bush itself is beautiful and growing like crazy. However… I’m not getting many blueberries! Can you tell me how I can encourage blueberry growth?

Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

Short, sweet, and simple… get another blueberry bush and plant it next to the one you have. And make sure it’s a different variety. In order to set fruit generously, blueberries must cross-pollinate with another variety. So, if you’ve set out a Tiff Blue plant, go buy a Premier or Climax (or whatever varieties are grown in your area) to plant beside your existing bush. Then get the freezer ready next year, because you’ll have blueberries by the gallons!

The Editor

 

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