Friday, August 16, 2013

Bread and Butter Pickles

Canning season has officially started!  I went out to the garden to weed and tidy up again, and ended up finding a nice amount of cucumbers - perfect for bread and butter pickles!  We love bread and butter pickles for their sweet crispness - by the way, just so you know before you make these - bread and butter pickles are very sweet.  If you aren't fond of sweet pickles, this wouldn't be the recipe for you.  For Charlie and I, we like these little beauties on sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, and just straight from the jar.

The cucumbers.

 As a side note, I have never been able to harvest enough cucumbers at one time to make a batch of pickles.  I will post more about it later, but this was the first year I trained my cucumbers up on a fence - and they are growing so much better than they do on the ground.

I use my mandolin (and safety glove, of course!) to slice the cucumbers.  I used to use a pretty ripple-cut cutter, but I had difficulty getting the slices even, so I just use my mandolin. 

I always discard both ends of the cucumbers.  Into the compost pile with you!

I also slice the onions on the mandolin.  We love pickled onions, so I put a bunch of onions in.

The cucumber slices and onions then get mixed with some whole garlic cloves and picking salt and covered with ice cubes to rest for three hours.

The cucumbers drained and packed into hot jars.

Adding the hot brining liquid.

Ready for the two piece caps.

Boiling water bath for 10 minutes, and that is it!

Bread and Butter Pickles

  • about 6 pounds small cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 1/4")
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 2 trays of ice cubes
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 TB mustard seed
  • 3 cups vinegar (I used half white vinegar and half cider vinegar)
Wash cucumbers thoroughly, drain, cut unpeeled cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices (discard both end pieces).  In a large bowl, place cuke slices, onions, garlic and salt.  Mix.  Cover with ice cubes, let stand for 3 hours.  Drain of liquid and remove garlic if desired (I leave it in because we like to nibble on the pickled garlic too).  For brine, combine sugar, spices and vinegar and heat just to a boil.  Pack cucumbers loosely into clean hot pint jars, and ladle brine into each jar, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Adjust two piece lids, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool on kitchen towel.  Makes 7 pints.

Note: Regarding the spices in the brine.  I have tried leaving the mustard and celery seed in, but I have found I don't like it as well - too seedy.  I usually just put a little strainer over my canning funnel and catch the spices before they get into the jars.  

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