Fermented Dill Zucchini Pickles

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sliced zucchini in jarWe have been following Colleen over on Grow Forage Cook Ferment for awhile. We’ve enjoyed reading her blog about homesteading endeavors, particularly related to fermenting, as well as her herbal DIY projects. Like us, she loves preserving the harvest so that she can have healthy and tasty food (and drink!) all year long. Not to mention that she is a fellow jar lover!

Grow Forage Cook Ferment

Today, Colleen is taking over the blog with a Fermented Dill Zucchini Pickles Recipe. Oh, and we have a fun giveaway at the end of the post.

fermenting zucchini with pickle pipe

Zucchini and other summer squash often come in abundance in summer gardens, so it’s great to have some new ways to preserve it for later eating. Fermenting is one of Colleen’s favorite ways to preserve any fresh produce, as it is easy to do, can be done in small batches, and is full of gut healthy probiotics!

Fermented Dill Zucchini Pickles Recipefermenting zucchini with pickle pipe

The addition of a grape leaf or green tea leaves will help keep your zucchini pickles crisp due to the tannins.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium zucchini or summer squash, sliced into rounds
  • 3 heads fresh dill flowers, or 1 tsp dill seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp peppercorns
  • 1 grape leaf, or 1 tsp green tea leaves (optional, but recommended)
  • 2 cups unchlorinated (filtered) water
  • 1 ½ Tbsp kosher or sea salt (non-iodized)

Directions

  1. Fill a wide mouth quart sized jar with the sliced zucchini, spices, and optional grape leaf or green tea leaves, leaving an inch or so of headspace.
  2. Mix the water and salt to make a brine, and pour over the zucchini, making sure to cover all of the veggies. You may need to make a little more brine at a ratio of 3/4 Tbsp salt to 1 cup water in order to fill the jar.
  3. Weigh the zucchini down with a weight such as a Pickle Pebble so that they stay under the brine.
  4. Cover the jar with an airlock such as the Pickle Pipe, or a clean towel secured with a rubber band.
  5. Set in a cool and dark place for about 4-5 days to ferment. Taste the zucchini, and when they are to your liking they are done!
  6. Store in the refrigerator covered with a lid.

NOTES FROM COLLEEN: Making fermented vegetables is even easier with a Pickle Pipe and Pickle Pebbles! The Pickle Pipe is probably my favorite fermenting airlock, because it’s so easy to use and plastic free. The Pickle Pebbles weights are perfect for keeping all the veggies under the brine.

 

THE GIVEAWAYnaturally-fermented-elderberry-soda-560x800

Colleen has shared a really fun recipe for Fermented Elderberry Soda with Ginger and Honey on her blog. This wild elderberry soda is so great for your health because it’s full of immune boosting goodness with elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and honey. We’ve experimented with making our own Elderberry Syrup, so we can’t wait to give Colleen’s recipe a try. Colleen used our flip top bottles for her Elderberry Soda. So, we are giving away a case of our 16oz. flip top bottles to 1 lucky winner. Enter below.

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Ginger Honey Pear Butter Recipe + a Giveaway

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National-Honey-Month

September is National Honey Month and it seemed fitting for us to celebrate. Not only because we have a pretty sweet line of honey jars, but also because we’ve been enjoying honey sweetened preserves and all the benefits of swapping honey for sugar in our jams, fruit butters and other preserves.

If you haven’t tried using honey in place of sugar in your preserves, this post about honey sweetened preserves offers some guidance on how to do that safely. We’ve also learned a lot about the addition of honey, and tried many trusted recipes from the books Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, and Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin.

Fillmore Container Honey Jar Collection

CanningCrafts_vintage-Label - GingerHoneyPearButter

In fact, we have a great new recipe to share with you today, and it’s based on a recipe from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, by Marisa McClellan. Her book includes a recipe for Gingery Fig Butter, but instead of figs, we choose to use pears and so, Ginger Honey Pear Butter was born. (See recipe below.)

If you’re following along with the Mastery Challenge you’ll know that September’s challenge is to make a fruit butter. If you are more of a apple butter person, we’ve got a few of those recipes too.

 

We also wanted to introduce you to CanningCrafts, our partner for our giveaway. CanningCrafts has been selling colorful, canning jar labels since 2010, and we just love their products! They have over 300 products that include custom labels, cloth covers for mason jars, hang tags, and DIY cookie mason jar gift sets. They create customized honey labels for backyard beekeepers, which is what made us think of them for National Honey Month. CanningCrafts selection of ready made and custom mason jar labels are perfect for dressing up the mason jars in your own pantry, or to give to friends and family!

 

CanningCrafts_vintage-honey-bee-label-

Honey_Canning_Jar_Label SheetsWe fell in love with this Vintage Honey Bee Canning Label. Since you can customize it yourself, we thought it would work perfectly in a variety of ways. Beekeepers can use it to label jars of honey. Preservers can use it to identify honey sweetened preserves.  

CanningCrafts is giving two lucky winners 5 sheets of labels (2o labels per sheet).  We are also throwing in a $50 store credit to Fillmore Container for each winner. You can enter to win at the end of this post.

CanningCrafts is also offering Fillmore Container’s readers 10% off all honey labels until October 15, 2017. Just use coupon code: BizzyBeeFC at check out.

 

GINGER HONEY PEAR BUTTER

Pear ImageThis recipe is adapted from Marisa McClellan’s recipe for Gingery Fig Butter in her book Naturally Sweet Food in Jars.

Yield: 5 (half-pint/250 ml) jars

3 pounds/1.4 kg pears, chopped

1 cup/340 g honey

1/4 cup/60 ml bottled lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Prepare jars, lids and a boiling water bath canner and 5 half-pint/250 ml jars.

Note: You don’t need to peel these pears. The natural pectin in the skins helps thickening. And adds flavor and nutrition. When you puree the pears (with the skins), you’ll find the skins just disappear into the butter.

Combine the pears, honey, lemon juice, and ginger in a low, wide, non-reactive pot. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the contents of the pot begin to bubble and roll, reduce the heat to medium-low. Using an immersion blender, puree the warm pears until smooth. Cook, stirring regularly until the pear puree is thick. You know it’s done because it begins to thickly coat the sides of the pan and offers more resistance when you stir. During cooking, the pear butter may have clumped up a bit. If this is the case, use your immersion blender to puree is smooth again.

Remove the pot from the heat and funnel the finished butter into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch/12 mm of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

 

GIVEAWAY

Two lucky winners will each receive 5 sheets of Vintage Honey Bee Canning Label from CanningCrafts AND a $50 store credit to Fillmore Container. Enter to win below.

Don’t forgetCanningCrafts is also offering Fillmore Container’s readers 10% off all honey labels until October 15, 2017. Just use coupon code: BizzyBeeFC at check out.

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Pepper Jelly Recipe

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Pepper JellyMrs. Wages Pepper Jelly Kit comes with almost everything you need to make the best pepper jelly. The kit includes pectin and spices, all you need is the peppers, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar, and you will be on your way to stocking your pantry with some sweet and savory jelly.

Pepper Jelly works well as a glaze on meat or fish, served with cream cheese and crackers as an appetizer, mixed with a little olive and vinegar for a salad dressing, or as a sandwich spread. Get more ideas on how to use Pepper Jelly here.

Check out the Mrs. Wages Pepper Jelly recipe below. 

Pepper Jelly

Yield: 12 Half-Pints

Ingredients

4 lbs. Fresh bell peppers (about 8-10 medium peppers)

2 cups White distilled vinegar

¼ cup Bottled lemon juice

Pepper Jelly Kit1 pouch Mrs. Wages Pectin Blend (included in Mrs. Wages Pepper Jelly Kit)

1 pouch Mrs. Wages Pepper Jelly Mix (included in Mrs. Wages Pepper Jelly Kit)

9 cups Sugar

Prepare canning jars and lids and water bath canner.

Wash bell peppers, seed and chop. Place chopped peppers in a juicer to extract pepper juice in a 2-quart container. Skim off foam. Or, place chopped peppers in a food processer and puree to smooth. Gently strain puree through cheesecloth into a 2-quart container.

If needed, add water to pepper juice to yield 5 cups (40 fluid oz.) of juice.

Combine prepared pepper juice, vinegar and lemon juice in a large non-reactive saucepan. Do not use aluminum. Stir in Mrs. Wages Pectin Blend and Mrs. Wages Pepper Jelly Mix. Heat mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Ladle hot mixture into prepared jars, filling evenly. Leave ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim and place lids and rings on each jar.

Process half-pints for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Turn off heat, carefully remove canner lid and let jars stand for 5 minutes in canner. Remove jars. Let jars sit undisturbed to cool at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer’s directions. If jars do not completely seal, refrigerate and consume within 1 week.

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A Basic Tomato Salsa Recipe for Preserving

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We recently hosted a canning class taught by Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars. The hands-on canning class, at Fillmore Container, focused on tomato salsa. Marisa talked about the basics of preserving tomatoes including the importance of acidification when preserving tomatoes.

SalsainJars

The Tomato Preserving Guidelines from Penn State Extension offer some very helpful information about working with tomatoes and includes a variety of preserving recipes including, Spaghetti Sauce with Meat, Standard Tomato Ketchup,  and Barbecue Sauce.

In addition to the basic tomato salsa recipe below, we also like making this Choice Salsa Recipe because the recipe allows you to can salsa safely using varied ingredients. We also have a round up of Salsa recipes here, and other tomato based preserving recipes here.

 

RECIPE 

Basic Tomato Salsa

Makes 8 pints

Ingredients

6 pounds tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped sweet red peppers
3 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup bottled lime juice
8 garlic cloves, minced
5-6 jalapenos, minced
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 cup chopped cilantro

(We doubled this recipe during the class, so that everyone could take home a jar.)

Prepare a boiling water bath and 8 regular-mouth pint jars

Combine the tomatoes, onion, peppers, vinegar, sugar, lime juice, jalapenos, garlic, and salt in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. When that time has elapsed, stir in the chopped cilantro. SalsaCooking

Taste and add additional jalapeno, lime juice or salt should it need additional balance. 

Ladle hot salsa into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

 Funnel Salsa

 

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How to Can Diced Tomatoes

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If you need a basic way to put up some tomatoes for another day, this is it. The end product has a bit more of a stewed tomato, than a true chopped tomato. It is a very simple way to preserve tomatoes for a future soup, stew, stir fry, tomato sauce, salsa, or whatever your heart desires.

Diced Tomatoes for Water Bath Canning

Yields 4 pintsDiced Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs Roma or paste tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice, divided

Prepare a boiling water bath and 4 regular-mouth 1-pint jars. Prepare the lids according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While it heats, core the tomatoes and using a small, sharp knife, score the bottom of each tomato with a shallow X. Fill a large bowl two-thirds full with ice-cold water. (The cold water stops the cooking and cools the tomatoes down enough for you to peel them after blanching.)

Working in batches, add the tomatoes to the boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the tomatoes to the bowl of ice-cold water to cool. Repeat with remaining tomatoes, making sure to give the water a chance to come back up to boiling between batches. If the water isn’t hot enough, you will have a hard time removing the skins during peeling.

When the blanched tomatoes are cool enough to handle, grab one and peel the skin off with your fingers. The blanching should have loosened it to the point where it curls off the tomato and is easy to pull free.

Chop the peeled tomatoes and place them in a pot with as much of the juices as you’re able to capture during the chopping process. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 30-35 minutes, until the juices thicken. Stir regularly to prevent burning.

Add 1 Tbsp of bottled lemon juice to each prepared jar. Ladle the hot chopped tomatoes with their juices into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch/12 mm of headspace. Gently tap the jars on a towel-lined countertop to help loosen any bubbles before using a wooden chopstick to dislodge any remaining bubbles and add additional tomatoes, if necessary.

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes.

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How to Use Low Temperature Pasteurization for Pickles

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We recently hosted a canning class taught by Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars. The hands-on canning class, at Fillmore Container, focused on low temperature pasteurization. For those of you that are following along with the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge, this month’s challenge is all about Low Temperature Pasteurization

Back ofClass pickles

What is low temperature pasteurization?

It is a preservation technique in which you simmer your filled jars in water that’s between 180 and 185 degrees F. You do this for a longer period of time than you would normally process them in a boiling water bath canner. The longer, lower temperature allows you to kill off bacteria while achieving the goal of retaining a firmer texture pickle. Here’s the basics of the preserving method along with the pickle recipe that we made during the class.

Cucumbers

Why use low temperature pasteurization?

Have you ever made a batch of pickles with the highest of hopes, only to open up the jars in October or November and find flavorful but soft, soggy slices or spears? If this is something you’ve experienced, you probably found yourself wondering, “How can I make crunchy, shelf stable pickles?” If that sounds familiar, then low temperature pasteurization may be for you!

PickleStationsClass

What do I need?

All you need to try out this style of preserving is a canning pot, an adjustable heat source, and a reliable thermometer. You may need to practice a little to figure out how to get your water to maintain the proper temperature. However, once you do, you’ll be rewarded with crisp, snappy pickles! To find out more about this method read this post.

RECIPE
Garlic Dill Pickles

Yield: 10 pintsPreparing jars

Ingredients

6 pounds pickling cucumbers
3 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups water
3 tablespoons pickling salt
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar
1 teaspoon peppercorns per jar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds per jar
1-2 garlic cloves per jar

Prepare a low temperature pasteurization pot and 10 pint jars.

Wash cucumbers well. Trim away the blossom end, which is a very important step. While trimming the cucumbers may seem wasteful, there’s an enzyme (pectinase) that will cause your pickles to become soft. Trim about 1/16 inch from that blossom end before pickling. After trimming, cut cucumbers into halves, spears, or coins.

Combine the apple cider vinegar, water, and pickling salt in a saucepan or 4th burner pot (rack removed) and bring to a boil. (Read more about our versatile 4th burner pot here.)

Portion the spices and garlic cloves into the prepared jars. Pack the cucumbers into the jars and add the brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.pouring pickling brine

Using a wooden chopstick, wiggle out any trapped air bubbles, and add more brine, if necessary.

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner or in a low temperature pasteurization pot for 25 minutes at 180F.  Note the thermometer clipped on the water bath canner in photo below.

waterbath processing

When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.

When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortable handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

Jars of Pickles

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Preserve The Harvest Giveaway

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In celebration of this bountiful time of year, Countryside magazine invited Fillmore Container to participate in its Preserve the Harvest Giveaway which boasts a new prize every week for 4 weeks.

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We’ve contributed the following fantastic prizes for each week:

Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

In addition to the prizes that Fillmore Container is supplying, there’s also other fun preserving goodness being given away each week from Pomona’s Pectin, All American Canner,  CoolBot, Grainmaker, The Sausage Maker and more. Get all the details here. Your weekly entry will also be included in the grand prize drawing August 29th!

Go enter your chance to WIN!

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How to Dry Herbs in your Oven

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Washing HerbsIf you’re a couple of years into your herb garden, you’ve likely realized that there are some herbs that you just can’t keep up with. Some of them – like our Thyme, Oregano and Savory – faired very well over the winter, had expanded their growth area and were bursting with new growth.

I knew a large quantity of aromatic leaves would go to waste if I wasn’t able to preserve them quickly, and I didn’t have a dehydrator or an ideal drying location in our home, so I turned to our oven, to dry some fresh herbs and fill jars of dried herbs ready for cooking!

Here are the basics:

Space oven racks for optimal circulation and preheat your oven to the warm setting, or 200 if that setting isn’t available.

Trim and clean your herbs, removing any unsavory leaves and extra stalks/stems. Try to remove as much of the water from washing as you’re able…by gently swinging them in a large towel or sack, or patting them dry. The dryer they are going in, the more evenly they will dry in the oven. 

Herbs ready for the ovenLay your herbs in a single layer on large cookie sheets. If you line them, it will make it easier to collect the leaves as they fall off, but it isn’t a required step. Different herbs will dry at different rates, so try keeping like herbs together so that they may be removed together. 

Put them in the oven. Place a silicone spatula or spoon in the opening of your oven to wedge it open a bit so that the steam doesn’t build up.  Check on your herbs after 10 minutes. If you have multiple trays, you may need to just keep checking occasionally to ensure that the don’t get burned.  

When your leaves are good and dry, remove them from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them. Then gently strip the leaves off of the stems. If your oregano leaves are on the larger size, you can just break them up by grasping the stem and sort of crushing them. 

Dried Herbs from Giving GardenWhen the dried leaves are completely cooled, funnel them into the jar of your choice and label & date them. 

Here, we used the cracker jars as master storage, which allowed us to keep the leaves more intact.

Using chalkboard paint, we made panels for labeling on a variety of 8oz jars. We filled the smaller jars, wrote the herb name in chalk and capped them with some colorful single-piece lids. 

Other options…

If most of your recipes call for a combination of herbs which you’ve just dried, you can mix them together before jarring.

If you wish for a more finely finished product, you may crush them more completely. Our spice jars paired with the pour sift caps work well for this, or you can re-purpose spice jars that you may already have on hand. 

Drying herbs isn’t the only way to preserve or extend their goodness! Here are a few of our most popular herb related posts:

Once you make Herbes Salées from the amazing Batch Cookbook, don’t be surprised if it becomes a regular habit!

Freezing Herbs in olive oil is a low fuss method that yields great rewards when your herbs are buried in snow.

This round-up of Homemade Salad Dressings and Vinaigrette Recipes will help you use both fresh and dried herbs. 

 

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Fermented Tomato Salsa from Joy of Pickling

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Did you know the third edition of The Joy of Pickling has 50 brand new recipes! We chatted with Linda Ziedrich, the author, and she shared a bit about what preservers can expect from the third edition, as well as a recipe from the book – Fermented Tomato Salsa.The Joy of Pickling- Fillmore Container

The third edition reflects my pickling research of the past eight years. There are new fermented pickles, including green olives, whole watermelons, whole cabbages, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi grated and cured like kraut, and, for the small-scale fermenters, small-batch krauts with beet, kale, and carrot and onion added.

Readers will enjoy trying my new relish recipes, including this fermented tomato salsa recipe. Because chopped tomatoes are especially prone to spoilage, fermenting prepared salsa is tricky; most people who do this add whey or keep the fermentation very short. But you can make a fully fermented, deeply flavorful salsa by fermenting the vegetables whole before you chop them.Fermented Salsa

Fermented Tomato Salsa

Yields: About 3 1/2 cups

Tools: We used a 2 quart sized Mason jars, Pickle Pebbles and a Pickle Pipe.Fermented Salsa Ingredients

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds firm, meaty whole tomatoes, ripe or semiripe

½ pound green jalapeño peppers, tops sliced off

¼ pound onion, peeled and cut into chunks

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 ½ tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) pickling salt

1 quart water

Mix the tomatoes, peppers, onion pieces, garlic, and cumin together in a two-quart mason jar. Add the lime juice. In another container, dissolve the salt in the water. Pour the brine over the vegetables, and weight them. Cover the jar (use an airlock, if you have one), and keep the jar at cool room temperature. Skim off any yeast or mold that appears.

After three weeks, cut a pepper vertically to be sure it has completely changed color, from bright green to olive green. If it has, gently transfer all the vegetables to a bowl, taking care not to burst the tomatoes, which will have swelled. Coarsely grind the vegetables, in batches, in a food processor or blender. Transfer the mixture to one or more smaller jars, and store them in the refrigerator. The salsa should keep for weeks.

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Peach Freezer Jam with Mrs. Wages

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Preserve some peaches without turning on the stove, with this no-cook peach freezer jam. If you haven’t made freezer jam before, we encourage you to read our post about How to Make Freezer Jam.

Easy Peach Freezer Jam

The original recipe is By Joy Isaacs, from Mrs. Wages® Test Kitchen

Ingredients

4 cups peeled, crushed peaches (fresh or frozen)*

1 ½ cups sugar or Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener (granular)

3 Tbsp bottled lemon juice

1 pouch Mrs. Wages® No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin

Directions

Place crushed peaches** in a large bowl, stir, sugar (or Splenda) and bottle lemon juice until well blended.

LET STAND for 10 minutes.

Gradually stir contents of Mrs. Wages® No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin into the peach mixture. Stir for three minutes.

Ladle jam into clean, freeze-safe containers, leaving ½-inch headspace. Secure lids and let stand 30 minutes to thicken.

*If using frozen fruit, allow fruit to thaw in refrigerator before crushing.

**For thicker jam, bring crushed peaches to a boil before mixing with other ingredients.

Note: Freezer jam set is softer than cooked jam which makes it perfect for spreading.

Unopened containers may be stored in the freezer up to 1 year or 3 weeks in refrigerator. Once opened, keep in refrigerator and use within 3-5 days. Depending on how quickly your family goes through jam, its important to consider the size of your container.
 
If you aren’t familiar with freezing in jars, please read this.

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