Sweet-and-Spicy Bread-and-Butter Pickles
To sterilize canning jars, submerge them in boiling water for at least 10 minutes and until they are ready to be filled. Use new lids, and sterilize them according to manufacturer's instructions. For complete instructions, refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's canning guidelines.
- 2 pounds Kirby cucumbers or summer squashes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds (about 6 1/2 cups)
- 1 medium white onion (about 8 ounces), halved and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 2 heaping tablespoons coarse salt
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 3 cups cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes or 3 dried hot chiles
To draw out excess liquid and increase crunch, toss cucumbers and onion with salt in a large colander. Add ice, and toss again. Place over a bowl, and refrigerate, tossing occasionally, for 3 hours. Drain. Rinse well, and drain again.
Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, and red-pepper flakes to a boil in a saucepan. Add cucumbers and onion. Return to a boil (if using squashes, add them, then remove from heat; do not return to a boil).
Ladle into 3 hot sterilized pint jars, leaving about 1/2 inch below each jar's neck. Wipe rims of jars with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly with sterilized lids and screw tops. Using tongs or a jar clamp, transfer jars to a rack in a large canning pot or a large, deep pot filled with hot water, being sure to keep jars upright at all times. (Jars should be spaced 1 inch apart, and should not touch sides of pot.) Cover with water by 1 inch. Cover pot, and bring to a boil. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Let cool. Press down on each lid. If lid pops back, it's not sealed; refrigerate unsealed jars immediately, and use within 1 month. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.