This section is from the book "Preserving And Pickling", by Mary M. Wright. Also available from Amazon: Preserving and Pickling: Two Hundred Recipes for Preserves, Jellies, Jams, Marmalades, Pickles, Relishes and Other Good Things.
Unless the materials used are good you cannot expect perfect results. Discard all imperfect and overripe fruits, and the vegetables used should be up to standard. In spicing and pickling fruits and vegetables use only the best cider vinegar. If too strong it is better to weaken it with water than to buy weak vinegar, which always lacks in flavor. Whole spices are better than the ground spices, as they retain their strength longer. If ground spice is used it should be freshly ground. There is quite an art in combining different fruits so as to get a variety. This also often means quite a saving, since cheaper fruits may be combined with some of the more expensive kinds with the most satisfactory results.