Ever since I was a kid watching my mom make jelly I've been fascinated by canning. When I got older and started canning on my own, my mom handed down an ancient family recipe for bread and butter pickles. The first batch I made was perfect. Everyone loved them. But I wanted to try dill pickles. Unfortunately I didn't have the ideal recipe handed down through the generations for dills. So I picked a random recipe I found in a book and tried it. Terrible! Since them I've experimented with different amounts and types of vinegar and dill and tweaked the other components, mostly in small batches of refrigerator pickles, just a quart or two at a time.
It was a process of trial and error, and trial and error, and trial and error. But finally I've gotten to the point where I have a recipe I like. The dream is to one day be able to make pickles purely from the output of the garden. I'm not there yet, but getting a little closer. Apple cider vinegar is a long ways off.
Anyway, here's the process in simple steps.
Step 1: Ingredients
Here's what you'll need.
Cucumbers - the amount of cucumbers you have will determine the amount of the other ingredients you need.
For each pound of cukes, you'll need approximately:
1 quart canning jar or 2 pint jars
1.5 c water
0.5 c apple cider vinegar
1/8 c Kosher salt
1/8 c sugar - yes, sugar, really
1 tsp dried dill weed or preferably 2 sprigs fresh dill
1/4 tsp dill seed
1/4 tsp mustard seed
2 cloves garlic
a pearl onion or two (very optional)
half a jalapeno pepper (optional if you don't like heat)