I grew up in a family that took time every year to can pickles, beans, peaches.. You name it became a family affair. I used to hate the task as a child of snipping beans or cleaning veggies, now I see it as a fun process for all of to get together and make things that we will have all year long or more. Even now as we live in another state, whenever my parents come for a visit they bring over some canned deliciousness.
The other day I was talking to my engineering husband about my families process for canning and how we always used a pressure cooker to do our canning and he was surprised and impressed with the process. Apparently this isn't the norm for everyone. Because this canning process has always been a family affair I found myself wanting the result of homemade items but I felt overwhelmed with doing it all by myself. So I decided to jump into the "not so" deep end and make my own pickles. Let me say that the first batch was so easy and delicious that this will now become a staple item in our home. For me, when it comes to cooking I'm not very good at following a recipe so the ability to interchange spices for a fresh new taste has become really fun.
I sliced up my cucumber (If you want you can thinly slice some onion, which is amazing pickled and then put on sandwiches in with the cucumbers) then in the bottom of my jar I put in about a clove of garlic (minced), 1-2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 1 tablespoon dill (fresh or dried) and a little crushed red pepper (optional). Next place your sliced cucumber and onion in the jar and fill 1/2 way with white vinegar and top off with water. I place my lid and gently shook my jar to mix together all the ingredients.
Place in the refrigerator and enjoy after a few days, we began eating ours after a week and they were just beging to soften. They will obviously continue to soften and become more... whats the word... pickled over time. Keep in the fridge and enjoy within the month.