NOTE: When selecting cucumbers for pickling, there are a few things to remember. For crisp pickles, choose ripe, pickling cucumbers, which are shorter and chunkier than regular eating cucumbers, which tend to be longer and smoother. Ripe pickling cucumbers are darker green, firm, and not "bloated." They should have plenty of spiny bumps on the outer surface. Overripe cucumbers make mushy pickles. They tend to have yellow or white streaks or spots and their surfaces are smoother. Choose pickles that have not been coated in wax, as the pickling brine cannot penetrate through the wax. The fresher the cucumbers, the crisper the pickles will be. For best results, try picking your own cucumbers from a local farm or farmers' market.
Place cucumbers, onions, pickling salt, and water in a large, non-reactive bowl. Cover and allow cucumbers to soak for 2 hours. Drain the water from the onions and cucumbers through a colander and rinse well for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
Combine the vinegars, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, cloves, garlic, and peppers in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the cucumbers and onions. Bring to a simmer and remove the saucepan from the heat.
Fill each of the hot sterilized pint-size preserving jars with the pickle mixture, dividing them evenly, and enough of the liquid to come within 1/2-inch of the top. Add 1/2 teaspoon of Natural Pickle Crisp to each jar, if desired. With a clean damp towel, wipe the rim and fit with a hot lid. Screw on the metal ring just until the point of resistance is met. Process the jars in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes.
Using tongs, remove the jars, place on a towel, and let cool. Test the seals by allowing the jars to stand at room temperature overnight or until the lids pop. Tighten the rings and store in a cool dry place. Let the pickles age for at least 2 weeks before using.
Properly handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for one year. Making sure hands, equipment and surfaces in your canning area are clean is the first step in canning. Tips: Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with glass, plastic or metal lids that have a rubberlike seal. Two-piece metal lids are most common. To prepare jars before filling: Wash jars with hot, soapy water, rinse them well and arrange them open-side up, without touching, on a tray. To sterilize jars, boil them in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 10 minutes. Jars have to be sterilized only if the food to be preserved will be processed for less than 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath or pressure canner. To sterilize jars, boil them in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 10 minutes. Follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and preparing lids and bands. Use tongs or jar lifters to remove hot sterilized jars from the boiling water. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too: Dip the tong ends in boiling water for a few minutes before using them. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, preserves and pickles must be clean, including any towels and especially your hands. After the jars are prepared, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products. Find Information information on canning can be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website: http://nchfp.uga.edu/.