For my second attempt at pickling I threw some traditional pickle spices together and viola, these spicy sandwich pickles were successful.
With two people in the house I prefer food packed in smaller containers. I'm the only one in the house that eats pickles and those big jars take up valuable space, thus I don't buy commercial pickles. A light bulb went off and duh, make them myself in whatever size jars I want, simple right. The little wide mason mouth jars stack nicely and don't take up space in the fridge. This recipe is for a two pint batch which I divided into four 1/2 pint jars. I kept two jars and gave two jars away to a fellow sandwich pickle enthusiast.
Another plus with homemade pickles is you can control the salt content.
After one week I opened a jar and Whoaa baby, so good. I waited another week and opened the second jar and pickle perfection was achieved.
Preparing the mason jars for the pickles
The first thing I did was wash my jars and lids in soapy warm water. Next I boiled a pot of water to sterilize the jars. I used my standard size stockpot and a small canning rack, then when the water was boiling I lowered the rack into the water and let the jars boil for 10 minutes. Next carefully lift the rack from the water, the rack handles should fit over the rim of the stockpot. Using canning tongs, pour the water out of the jars and place on a clean towel to dry.
Putting the pickle ingredients together
I followed the standard pickle recipe of 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water and tossed in a combination of spices. My spices were bought from local Sprouts in the bulk section which is much cheaper than buying the jarred spices, especially if you don't use dill or mustard seed often.
While the jars are boiling, wash the cucumbers with a vegetable brush and using a clean sharp knife slice the cucumbers.
In a small bowl mix up the spices and put a teaspoon of the pickling spice mixture in each jar and divide the sliced cucumbers evenly between the jars.
Prepare your pickling liquid in a medium size non-reactive pot, I use my Le Creuset enameled saucepan. Heat the water and vinegar to simmer.
Don't use a reactive metal pot when heating the vinegar solution, the metal reacts with the vinegar and the pickle solution may turn cloudy and impart a metallic taste to your pickles. Reactive pots are metal pots made from aluminum, brass and cast iron. Stainless steel is a non-reactive metal.
Cover the cucumbers in the pickling liquid and let cool slightly before putting the lids on, then refrigerate for 3-7 days before eating. You can eat them earlier but the taste the best if you let them sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.