All right, friends. If you’ve never canned anything and you wish you could, I am here to offer a little encouragement and inspiration. As I write this, a pot o’ pickles is boiling on the stove–the year’s first batch.
Here’s all that’s involved in making pickles.
You cut up the cukes into rounds, spears or both. Put them in a bowl with some kosher salt and ice, then go do something else for several hours while they sit in the fridge. (I opted to sleep.)
Fill up a canner (or any huge pot) with water and start it heating. Meanwhile, rinse off your cukes and pack them into pint jars. Combine vinegar, sugar, celery seed, whole allspice and mustard seed and bring to a boil. Pour this liquid over the cukes, leaving a quarter-inch of "headroom" at the top, then put the lids and bands on the jars.
When the water is almost-but-not-quite boiling, put your jars in carefully, boil for 10 minutes, then remove. (A special jar lifter tool is very handy here, but you can do it with tongs.) Let the pickles sit for 24 hours before you touch them or test the seals. And don’t eat them for at least a month–six weeks is better.
From four pounds of cukes, I got six pints of pickles.
And that’s all there is to it. For the exact recipe, see this book, or find another that you like.
Put off by the cost of jars? Kathy Kildea of Market Central writes that she’s got "thousands of $1.50 off coupons for Ball jars." Pick some up at the Market Central booth at City Market.