08/26/2013 11:54 EDT | Updated 10/26/2013 05:12 EDT

To be safe follow exactly recipe for pickles intended for long-term storage

Janet Nezon, who gives seminars on home canning, makes at least six or seven different types of pickles each year and says she would make a lot more if she had time. Two of her favourites are pickled peppers and bread-and-butter pickles, but she also experiments with things like pickled radish pods. Here are a few tips:

— To ensure your dill pickles stay crunchy, remove a very thin slice from each end of the cucumbers before covering them with brine.

— Food-filled jars that are to be processed in a water bath for more than 10 minutes do not have to be sterilized first. Heating the jars in the canner and the lids in a separate pot of simmering water is sufficient. Follow the recipe's recommendation.

— "Quick pickles," vinegar-based pickles that you want to eat right away, do not have to be processed in a water bath.

— For safety, it is essential to exactly follow the recipe for pickles intended for long-term storage, but you can get creative with "quick pickles," trying new vegetables and combinations of herbs and spices.

— Jars of pickles make great gifts.

Source: Janet Nezon, food educator and owner of Rainbow Plate.