Float Trip Pickles are a tradition here in the Ozarks, and commercial versions are sold in stores all over the area. A "float trip" is a group of people in canoes, kayaks, or flat-bottomed small boats taking a day or several days to float down one of our beautiful Ozark streams. Vehicles are first parked at a take-out spot many miles from where the boats put in, and people paddle, wade, swim, or fish their way down the creek. Overnight trips include camping on a sandbar, and somebody has to pack a big iron skillet, corn meal, and oil for cooking fresh fish - plus some coffee and an old-fashioned coffeepot for the wood fire.
The tradition of bringing a big jar of Float Trip Pickles along goes back a long time. Not a sophisticated recipe, fishermen and campers came up with these: Buy a gallon jar of dill pickle chips, drain out and discard the pickle brine and add 3 cups of sugar to the jar. Buy a big jar of pickled jalapeno pepper rings and add as many rings as possible to the pickle jar. Fill the pickle jar with the brine the jalapenos were packed in, put the cap on, and shake the heck out of it. That's it. Float Trip Pickles are hot, sweet cucumber and jalapeno slices with a dill flavor and they're surprisingly GOOD.
Since I've got fresh cukes and jalapenos from the garden now, and since I want to can and keep the pickles for awhile - I did it a little different when I made 10 quarts of Float Trip Pickles yesterday.
I bought two quarts of Dill Pickle Chips and drained off and kept the brine for later. In a food-grade bucket I tossed and mixed the pickle chips from the store with five quarts of fresh cucumbers (peel left on) sliced into chips and three quarts of fresh jalapenos sliced into rings. It happened that about 2/3 of my garden jalapenos were green and 1/3 were red, so that made the mixture prettier. Then I packed the mixed store dill pickles, cucumber chips, and jalapeno rings into quart jars.
I made up 5 quarts of brine by combining: 1 quart of dill brine saved from the store-bought pickles, 2 1/4 quarts white distilled vinegar, 1 quart filtered water, 1 pint apple cider vinegar, 1/2 pint jalapeno brine from a jar of home-pickled jalapeno rings I'd just finished, and 3 cups of sugar. Then I heated the brine in a stainless steel pot to 185 degrees F.
My hot-water canner was brought up to 185 degrees also, then I filled the jars with hot brine, put caps on just finger-tight, and gave them 20 minutes in the canner at 185 degrees. Then I removed them from the canner, tightened the lids, and let them seal as they cooled. Note: per "The Joy of Pickling" and other publications, you can get away with canning pickles at this temperature instead of boiling because of the high acid content (vinegar). Cucumbers get mushy when exposed to temps over 185, but don't do this with any fruits or veggies that aren't in vinegar.
That's it - and these hot, sweet dill pickles turned out real, real good. Remember, if the pickle jar falls in the creek (which often happens), jump in and get it quick before it floats into the rocks. It might break, and that would be a tragedy!