Bread and butter pickles

I love good bread and butter pickles, and they are certainly easy enough to make. However, I was not satisfied with any of the recipes I found – the flavor balance was not quite what I wanted, or the pickles were too soggy. After some experimenting I came up with the following recipe which provides what I think is the perfect balance of flavors as well as relatively crisp pickles. The quality of the cukes makes a big difference, of course.

Medium size pickling cucumbers, no more than 1-1/2 inches in diameter, as fresh as possible.
2 or 3 Vidalia onions
1/2 c coarse kosher or pickling salt
4 c white sugar
1 c dark brown sugar
5 c cider vinegar
1/2 TB celery seeds
2 TB yellow mustard seeds
1/2 TB turmeric

Wash the cukes and slice approximately 1/4 inch thick. You should have about 4 quarts. Peel and slice the onions the same thickness, you should have about 1-1/2 quarts. Mix the cukes, onions, and salt and place in a large non-reactive pan. Cover with several trays worth of ice cubes and put a weighted plate on top. Let sit for 3 hours then drain and remove unmelted ice cubes. Add 2 cups of water, mix, and drain again to remove excess salt. Add remaining ingredients and heat, stirring frequently, until just about to boil. Pack into pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

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