Lots of garlic and a good-quality blend of pickling spices from Penzeys add flavor to these crisp slices. The slight red hue on this batch comes from dried chipotle peppers, crumbled into the jar across each layer. The result is crunchy pickle slices with a lot of heat and smoky flavor.
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup canning salt
1/2 cup (packed) fresh dill
1 medium white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
6-9 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 1/2 to 4 pounds cucumbers, scrubbed and sliced (I used four of the english variety cucumbers, and 1/4 inch slices)
4 tbsp pickling spice (I used Penzeys)
2-3 dried chipotle peppers, crumbled (optional – if you like them spicy!)
Sterilize a 1-gallon glass jar and lid by immersing in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from water, and set aside.
In a large non-reactive saucepan, combine 6 cups water, cider vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and then simmer mixture while proceeding with recipe.
Place a third of the dill in bottom of jar. Top with a third of the onion and garlic.
Arrange 2-3 layers of cucumber slices over garlic. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of pickling spice and 1/3 of the chipotle peppers, if using.
Continue layering until jar is full, packing jar tightly.
Place jar in sink, and carefully pour in hot vinegar mixture into jar to fill it completely. Gently shake jar to dislodge any air bubbles. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
If using metal lid, line with a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap before fastening lid to prevent corrosion.
Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Remove jar from basin, and wipe clean with damp sponge.
Refrigerate jar for at least 24 hours before eating. These pickles will keep for up to a year in the refrigerator, but will probably not last that long!