1. Wash the jars, lids and bands in hot soapy water and rinse well. Keep the jars warm until they are ready to use. This will help prevent them from breaking when they're filled with the hot liquid. Keep them in a pot of simmering water or a heated dishwasher.

2. Fill the stockpot/canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch of water and heat to a simmer (180 degrees F.).

3. Follow the recipes for the recommended amount to fill the jars. Each jar needs space between the food and the rim (headspace) to allow the food to expand. Measure from the top of the jar rim down to the top of the food.

4. After you've filled the jar, remove the air bubbles by sliding a small, nonmetallic spatula inside the jar and gently pressing the food against the opposite side of the jar. Air bubbles inside the jar can affect the canning process.

5. Wipe any food from the rims of the jars. Center a new, cleaned lid on the jar, then twist on the band until it is "fingertip tight." Do not screw the tops on too tight because the air inside the jar must be able to escape during the canning.

6. Place the filled and sealed jars into a canning rack, then lower them into the stockpot of simmering water, making sure they're covered by at least an inch of water.

7. After they've been processed for the recommended amount of time in the recipe, let the jars stand in the water at least 5 minutes. Remove the rack and the jars from the water and allow to cool for 12 hours. Do not retighten or overtighten the bands that may have come loose during canning, as that will interfere with the sealing process.

8. Press on the center of the cooled lid. If the jar is sealed, the lid will NOT flex up or down.

9. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark pantry for up to a year.