At the moment I have four quarts of cucumber slices marinating with salt and ice to make the second batch of pickles for the summer (although it's currently autumn, what the hey!). The dogs are hanging out in the living room happily stretched out in front of the fan, on the sofa, or where ever is the most comfy.
I now know what I did wrong with last year's pickles - I let them come to the boil and let them cook too long in the syrup AND I processed the jars too long. Well the first batch this year came out so much better that I tossed the remaining three jars from last year on the compost heap and I'm making a second batch. I'll split the batch and do half regular bread and butter and half hot.
The recipe for bread and butter pickles is one adapted from a website that I've now forgotten. If it was from your site, my apologies for not passing along credit! I made the mistake of handwriting the recipe in my notepad and did not list the website.
Bread and Butter Pickles
4 quarts thinly sliced cucumbers
3 thinly sliced large onions
1/2 cup pickling or kosher salt
5 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp tumeric (powdered)
1 tsp celery seed
2 Tbsp mustard seed (yellow is prettier, but black works)
5 cups cider vinegar
Salt cukes and onions with the pickling/kosher salt. Add 2 quarts of ice and mix thoroughly. Let rest for 3 hours. Drain well and put veggies in a large kettle. Add sugar, spices, and vinegar. Bring almost to a boil stirring often with a wooden spoon, but do not boil. Pack into hot jars and seal. Process for 10 minutes for pints and quarts if lower than 1000 ft in elevation (I live nearly AT sea level, check for your area!)
To make hot sweet pickles, I added two tablespoons of flaked hot chili to a half batch of pickles last batch. This time I'll add six small dried hot chilis (about three inches long). The first were good - a bit of heat, but not too much. Of course the chili flakes had been sitting around for awhile so it had lost some potency. The new batch may be really hot. Will let you know!