What you see above is pickle-making in progress. I'm using a family recipe that my mom dug out of my grandmother's hand-written recipe notebook. I'm not canning, mind you, just making pickles that'll keep in the fridge for about a month.
Here's how: I scrubbled clean about 25 farmer's market cucumbers and cut off the ends. Then I pricked them all over with a fork and put them in a bowl with layers of dill seed heads, black currant leaves (optional) and half a dozen garlic cloves. (If I had horseradish root, I'd use it.)
I brought a liter of water to a boil, added a tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoons of kosher salt, and poured the hot water over the pickles. Then I added about two tablespoons of vinegar to the bowl. I put a plate with a weight (a bottle of vegetable oil) over the bowl. The brine is working its magic as I write this, but we'll see how the pickles turn out in two days.
Update: The pickles are pretty good: nice and crunchy, if a bit too salty. They need another day in the fridge after their two-day brine bath for the best taste.