this recipe and they won't last two months.
It's always best to start off with fresh ingredients, and if you don't garden head off to your local farm to get what you need. I went to a farm close by here, and they were so helpful. They reduced the price of my cukes because I bought so many, and they even ran out to their herb garden and clipped me fresh dill right on the spot. I took it home, and treated them like I would a bunch of flowers. I clipped the bottoms off and stuck them in cold water. Two days later, they're still looking very fresh.
Now, I had two resources guiding me through this whole process. The first was Pickyourown.org. This website is a treasure trove for the earthy mom (or dad). Not only does it have how to's, but you can also find local farms where you can...pick your own food. :) The second was a book I highly recommend called, Preserving Summer's Bounty.
When making pickles you want to avoid getting mushy pickles. That happens for two reasons: an over ripe cuke, and over processing. I live in a high altitude, so my processing time is increased. So when I started cutting my cukes, I only cut them in half, instead of fourths.
After processing, I set them out to cool. I didn't process all of them because I wanted to have my fresh crispies. The pickles should all be ready to eat in about two weeks, once the flavor has had a chance to settle in. Take a note at the difference in color of the pre-processed pickles, and the post-processed. Your refrigerator pickles will stay that crisp green, while the processed ones have yellowed a bit.
4 1/2 cups vinegar
4 1/2 cups of water
14 garlic cloves
Bring to a fast boil.
After cukes are cut and put in their jars, put two cloves of garlic in each jar along with:
1 whole clove
3 peppercorns or 1/4 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. dill seed
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Then seal up the jars and processes them according to your elevation. My elevation is about 5000 feet here in Boulder, Colorado so I had to do a wopping 15 minutes. I've read if you do straight vinegar and not water, then you can take 5 minutes off your processing time. If you don't want to deal with processing or if it just scares you (respectfully so!) then stick them in the fridge and wait two weeks. You'll have some seriously yummy pickles.