These homestyle pickles are especially easy if you're making them to eat right away (after some chill-down time in the refrigerator), although this recipe includes proper canning directions. If you do not follow the canning directions, let cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 10 days.
To prepare for canning: Wash 2 pint-size glass canning jars, their new lids and bands in hot soapy water (180 degrees); rinse well. Dry the bands; set aside. Sterilize the jars by boiling for 10 minutes. Heat the lids and bands in a saucepan of hot water, keeping them hot until ready to use. Do not boil the lids.
2 to 3 small cucumbers, cut into thin slices, preferably from the farmers market or homegrown (4 to 5 inches each)
1medium onion, cut in half and then cut into thin half-moons
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Makes 2 pints (6 servings)
Fill a large stockpot halfway with water. Preheat the water to 180 degrees (over medium heat).
Combine the cucumbers, onion, sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard and celery seeds and turmeric in a 2-quart, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 7 to 8 minutes, stopping twice during the cooking time to stir the mixture. Transfer the hot mixture to the sterilized glass jars.
Use a nonreactive spatula or chopsticks to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and necks of the jars with a clean, damp cloth. Center a heated lid on each of the jars. Load the filled jars, fitted with lids, into the canner rack and use the handles to lower the rack into the water; or fill the canner, 1 jar at a time, with a jar lifter or rubber-coated tongs. Screw each band on evenly and loosely until a point of resistance is met (fingertip tight). Increase the heat to high until the water boils vigorously. Cover and set a timer for 15 minutes. Add hot water, as needed, to keep the water level at least 1 inch above the jars. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle boil.
When the processing is complete, transfer the jars from the pot to sit upright on a clean dish towel to cool; do not retighten the bands. Let the jars cool on the towel for 12 to 24 hours.
When the jars are cool, test for a good seal by pressing the center of each lid. If the lid does not flex up and down, it is sealed. Label and refrigerate, or store the jars in a cool, dark place.
Adapted from Pam Pahl of Pahl's Farm in Woodstock, Md.
2008, The Washington Post