I managed to get a batch of spicy pickled vegetables canned today. I had to time some of it around my son's naps, and it worked out well.
Unfortunately, my new computer will not let me load photos until I update some software, but these jars are BEAUTIFUL! They are hot-pink, layered with different textures. They look like jewels. I used beets, cabbage, carrots, red onions, corn and jalepenos. Baby carrots and jalepenos makes a spicy snack, too. Great way to preserve low-acid vegetables. The vinegar makes it very unlikely that botulism can grow.
The pickling liquid (enough for 6-7 quart jars):
5 cups water, 5 cups sugar (less is fine, too), 7 1/2 cups cider vinegar, 2 1/2 tbsp mustard seed, 7 1/2 tbsp kosher salt, 5 tbsp red chile powder. Feel free to add some peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves of garlic and herbs to the jars, too, but not necessary.
Mix the above ingredients in a saucepan until the sugar is mostly dissolved, then bring to a boil. Pour the boiling liquid over mixed vegetables packed into pre-heated quart jars (so they don't break from the sudden heat), leaving 3/4" or more headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes (that's at my altitude, 7600 feet. At sea level 15 minutes should be enough).
Cut the recipe in half, if you want, and make refrigerator pickles. Proceed as above, filling 3-4 jars, cap, cool (no boiling water bath needed) and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
I serve this with stir-fried meat, steamed vegetables and rice in the winter. Brings some of the fresh taste of summer into a winter meal. I save the leftover liquid to use in chicken salad (made with home-canned chicken-yum), in salad dressings or dipping sauces, or you can just re-boil it and make more pickles or pickled eggs (they are better pickled in the used liquid, and beets color them nicely!).
If you get around to making pickled eggs, give yourself a real treat and make scotch eggs using the pickled eggs! Scotch eggs are hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded then deep fried. Usually they are served with dijon mustard, but I like them with Chinese hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce. I also use tempura batter instead of bread crumbs. I usually make these when my wife isn't around, because she says it makes her "feel fat"