Make bread and butter pickles by combining cucumbers, vinegar and spices. Some recipes can be stored in the refrigerator, while others must be processed in a hot water bath and can be stored for up to one year.
Wash and slice 4 pounds of cucumbers. Combine with 8 small sliced onions and 1/2 cup of canning salt. Cover with ice, and stir to mix well. Allow the mixture to stand for three hours, and then drain, rinse and drain again.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine 5 cups of sugar, 4 cups of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of mustard seed, 2 teaspoons of celery seed, 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves. In place of the spices, use a packet of Ball Bread and Butter Pickling Mix if desired. Bring the ingredients to a boil, and then add the cucumbers and onions. Bring the mixture to a boil again.
Ladle the mixture into hot pint jars. Tighten the lids, and place the jars in a hot water bath. Boil for 15 minutes to process. Remove, let the jars cool and then test the seal.
Ball features a method that simply combines the seasoning packet, vinegar and cucumbers, allowing it to soak, before ladling the mixture into jars. Instead of processing, the pickles are stored in the refrigerator and kept for up to three months.
For a sweet and spicy variation, add 3/4 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns and 1/4 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes to the seasoning. Boil and process as with traditional pickles.