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I'm making tomato relish and am wondering if I can sterilize jars adequately by putting them in the dishwasher?

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Absolutely not. You need to boil them if you're even THINKING about canning. Chances are you'd be fine, nice acidic relish to keep the bacteria down...But do you want to take the chance?

Even if you have one of those dishwashers with a nuclear "sterilize baby bottles" cycle, don't trust it. For canning, you need them as close to medically sterile as is possible.

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You can use the oven too, I find that much more convenient: ehow.com/how_5109586_sterilize-canning-jars-boiling.html –  Henrik Söderlund Feb 28 '11 at 9:35
    
Yeah totally agree - bacteria like Clostridium Botulinum - Botulism breed in low-oxygen environments like contaminated cans. The results can be fatal. –  stephbu Mar 1 '11 at 8:18
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