Every year, new rules and regulations come out for canners. Yet most veterans rely on what we learned from mothers, friends and books. This is the year to pay attention to the professionals.

The quality assurance team at Jarden Home Brands (the makers of Ball jars) released two big changes recently, and they are so dramatic, I want to shout them from the rooftops. They really do make canning simpler, less messy and less onerous. Yes, really.

Sanitizing the jars. For years, best canning practices always started with boiling the canning jars for 10 minutes to sanitize. From now on, just wash jars well in warm, soapy water and then fill them, as long as the recipe requires processing in the boiling water for at least 10 minutes. The only foods that are canned for 10 minutes or less are some pickles, some jellies and fruit juice; boil those jars or run them through a sanitizing dishwasher cycle.

Warming the lids. Canning instructions traditionally recommended warming the flat metal lids with a gasket, to “soften” the gasket. That is no longer necessary. Based on extensive testing, new instructions tell us to wash the lids and rings in warm, soapy water, rinse them well and hold them at room temperature until ready to use.

No boiling jars. No preheating. Jarden Home Brands says it’s interested in safely streamlining the process so more people will want to start canning at home.

— C.B.