It's really not as hard as it sounds. It takes about an hour total. And you feel so accomplished when you look at your full jars.
Start out with your recipe. This is one of the few recipes I have used that I don't really mess with too much. It's originally from The Joy of Cooking, but I prefer my hand written one from Kimmie. I also whip out my cooking staple - a glass of wine. And as Sal had made cupcakes, I threw one of those into the mix too. It was a nice addition, I must say.
The first thing you have to do is a bunch of chopping. My sister told me to use a Mandolin, and that's probably a great idea. But I'm a weirdo that likes to have my knife and just do it myself. I usually chop up my cucumbers, onions, peppers and garlic the night before, cover them in salt and ice and put them in the fridge until the next evening. You only have to let them sit three hours, though, so you can manage your time as you need. If you do just 3 hours, don't refrigerated. Also, I use extra peppers and onions because then you can serve it almost like a small side dish. Plus- I love onions and peppers. Kimmie and Sal aren't such big fans, so they use less. (This is the spot where I mess with the recipe.)
After your cucumbers have soaked, rinse them very well, drain, and put into a huge ass pot (technical terminology). Add the cider vinegar, sugar and spices and put on about medium heat so it will start to simmer. While you're waiting, boil about an inch of water in a wide pot, turn your jars upside down and bring to a boil. Drop the lids in too. Let boil about 3 mins to scald the jars. When you're done, turn up the heat on the other pot and bring that to a boil (stirring now and then) and then turn it off.
Fill your jars, put the lids on, and set them back into the wide pot of boiling water (right side up this time) and let them simmer in there 3 to 5 mins to seal and you're done.Yum!!
Plan on making at least 2 batches. I originally made one (8 quart jars) and they were gone in 2 months because everyone loves them. The juice is amazing for egg salad, FYI.
Bread and Butter Pickles
4 Quarts of sliced medium cucumbers. (Pickling cucumbers are best. It takes about 15, but if you want more pickles and less peppers use a few more)
6 medium onions sliced
3 bell peppers (use different colors, and only do 1 1/2 or 2 if you aren't a pepper fan)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup pickling salt
Put cucumbers, onions, peppers and garlic in a container, pour salt over it and mix a little so the salt distributes. Cover with ice and let sit at least 3 hours. Drain and rinse, then put into a large pot. Add:
3 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 1/2 tsp celery seed
2 Tblsp mustard seed
Bring to boil, fill hot jars (scalded) and seal.