Turmeric gives these tangy slices their characteristic yellowish color. It can also dye many countertops. To protect yours, place jars you're about to fill with pickles and brine on a clean kitchen towel you don't mind decorating with a few yellow splashes.
2 pounds pickling cucumbers
1 pound red onions
3 tablespoons pickling salt
2 cups crushed ice
1 2/3 cups vinegar
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3 pint jars with two-piece lids
Wash the cucumbers. Leave a 1/4-inch piece of stem attached, but cut a thin slice off the blossom end. Slice with a crinkle cutter, if you have one, or a knife into rounds just under 1/4 inch thick. Peel and thinly slice the onions.
Combine and toss the cucumbers, onions, and salt in a large bowl, then cover with a paper towel and a 2-inch layer of crushed ice. Refrigerate 3 hours, then drain, pushing down on the cucumber and onion slices.
Start a hot-water canning bath to keep warm. Wash and scald the lids according to the manufacturers directions. (If cooking at sea level to 1,000 feet in altitude, you must also sterilize the jars.)
Combine the vinegar, sugar, and spices in a large pot, and boil for 10 minutes. Drain the cucumbers and onions again, then add them to the vinegar mixture, lower the heat, and slowly bring to a boil.
Use tongs to remove the jars from the hot water and drain them over the pot, then to stuff the cucumber slices into the jars. Pour the pickling brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch head space at jar tops.
Wipe spills off jar lips with a damp, clean paper towel. Use tongs to retrieve the lids, then dry them on a clean paper towel and place them over jars. Use screw rings to secure the lids, but don't tighten them hard.
Bring the canning bath back to a boil and use a jar lifter to transfer the jars into the water, making sure there is 1 inch of water below and 1 to 2 inches above jars. Return water to boiling and process (at sea level to 1,000 ft of altitude, boil 10 minutes; at 1,001 to 6,000 feet, boil 15 minutes; above 6,000 feet, boil 20 minutes). Remove the jars from the bath with the jar lifter, and leave them undisturbed for at least 12 hours. Check seals before storing.
The pickles will be ready to eat in one week.