These pickles and onions are sweet and tart, spicy and delicious….


  • 2 1/2 lbs pickling cucumbers (as fresh as possible)
  • 1 pound white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt (its important NOT to use table salt, which has added ingredients which turn the pickles dark and soft and juice muddy)
  • 1 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 6 allspice berries plus a pinch of ground allspice
  • 6 whole cloves plus a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

You’ll also need:

  • 5 pint-sized canning jars, clean, unused lids, metal screw bands for the lids
  • 1 16-qt canning pot with rack
  • Jar lifters or tongs

Carefully rinse the cucumbers. Scrub the cukes well, get all dirt and spines off.

Slice off 1/8-inch from the ends and discard. The stem end of the cucumber contains enzymes which cause the pickles to be soft.  Old fashioned recipes sometimes called for adding grape leaves to the pickles before canning to inhibit the enzymes.

Slice the cucumbers in 1/4-inch thick slices, place in a large bowl. Add sliced onions and pickling salt.

Stir very well, so that the salt is well distributed all over the cucumber slices. Cover with a clean, thin kitchen towel. Place about 2 inches of ice on top of the towel .  Put the bowl of cuke slices in the refrigerator and let chill for 4 hours. Discard ice. Rinse the cucumber and onion slices thoroughly to remove all the salt, drain.

Rinse and drain again.

Put a kettle or pot of water on to boil from which you can add water to the processing pot later

Prepare your jars, lids and rings.

Wash jars with hot soapy water, rinse well. Sterilize jars by putting them in a large pot of water on a metal rack, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.  Keep the jars hot.

Put the lids and rings into a small pan of water, bring to a boil. reduce heat and keep hot.

In a 6 qt pot or larger, place the vinegar, sugar, and all of the spices. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add sliced cucumbers and onions. Bring to a boil again.

Immediately begin packing the jars with the vegetables. Use a slotted spoon to lift the cucumbers out of the vinegar mixture. Pack vegetables to within 1 inch of the jar rim.

Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the vegetables to within a half inch from the rim. Wipe the rim clean with a damp clean towel or cloth.  Place a sterilized lid on the jar. Secure with a metal screw band.

Return filled jars to the same canning pot with its already hot water.  Add enough hot water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch.

Bring to a boil and let boil hard for 15 minutes. If you live at an altitude over 1000 feet, boil 20 minutes. If you live at an altitude over 6000 feet, boil 25 minutes.

After the appropriate time, take the jars out of the water and place them on a clean towel on the counter top.  Let them cool completely and don’t bother the lids until they are cool.

You’ll probably hear the lids “pinging” of the lids sealing as they cool.  After they are cool, you can check the seals by lightly tapping the tops of the lids with a metal spoon. A sealed lid will sound with a “ring” and a lid that isn’t sealed will sound with a dull thud.

This recipe makes about 5 pint jars.