Do I need to sterilize my jars before putting the food into them?
Not always. If your recipe is being processed for more than 10 minutes then you don't have to sterilize the jars. The canner will do that during processing. Your jars do need to be kept hot until you are ready to fill them to avoid jar breakage. Putting hot food into cold jars can cause the jars to break. I wash my jars in hot, soapy water and keep them in my canner and keep it simmering until I am ready for them. If you prefer, you can run them through a cycle on your dishwasher and they will stay hot there until you are ready to fill them.