“[P]ickles are kind of show-offy, even more so than bread. If you make your own, for some reason, it really knocks people out.”
The Washington Post has a longish article on a local woman who is starting a small business venture producing her own pickles. It details a few recipes (spicy dill pickle spears, dilled green beans) as well as general tips on keeping your canning process sterile to avoid the possibility of foodborne illnesses.
“First she sterilizes jars in boiling water that’s at least an inch over the top of the jars for 10 minutes… You want to take jars out of the water one by one, so they stay sterilized… a cooled jar has a greater chance of cracking once the ingredients hit it… Do not reuse lids… Before sealing, she removes air bubbles with a nonmetallic stick such as a skewer, a chopstick or the plastic one that comes with most canning kits. Metallic ones are more apt to break the glass. “