This is the summer I tried my hand at pickling. I love it. I’m hooked. Just opened a jar of the bread and butter pickles I made and oh…my…god. Outrageously good! And I don’t talk this way. So why am I? And then Meathead tasted them and he said oh…my…god, these are incredible.
I’ve always liked bread and butter pickles. Something about the sweet-tart flavor and the onions. I grab a fork and stand at the counter and just eat them out of the jar. No shame and sometimes that’s my lunch. I’m not kidding.
These were quite a bit different in preparation than the dill pickles I made earlier this summer. I used the Kirby cucumbers but I sliced them using a mandolin and then chilled them under crushed ice for a few hours. Mandolins kind of freak me out. My mom gave me my dad’s and this was the first time I used it. Seeing as my dad sliced off the tip of his finger, I was a little bit scared. But I managed with no bloody fingers and it made the slicing of all these cukes go really quickly and they were all uniform in size. Cool.
I guess chilling them under ice keeps them crisp in the jars. It works, my pickles were crunchy, both the cukes and the onions. In terms of flavoring, the brine I used had sugar, apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric and crushed red pepper. These pickles are simply fantastic. Better than any store bought stuff I’ve tried.
So kids, some day when you have vegetable gardens and are cooking and want to make what your momma made, try these pickles. You will love them and hopefully think of me.
Bread and Butter Pickles
Makes 6 pint jars
- 4 pounds pickling cucumbers, known as Kirby’s, washed and scrubbed, ends trimmed, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 large white onions, sliced
- 1/3 cup kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
- 5 pieces of garlic, either whole cloves or cut in half
- 4 cups sugar
- 3 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
- 1 /1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Wash and sterilize 6 pint size jars, lids and screw caps, either in boiling water, hot soapy water or the dishwasher. Do not re-use lids and screw caps.
- In a large nonreactive stockpot, combine sliced cucumbers, onions, salt and garlic. Cover with a flour sack towel and then cover with 2 – 3 inches of crushed ice. Put a lid on and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to 12 hours.
- Prepare a boiling- water canner or large pot of water, bring to a boil.
- Remove towel and ice and transfer cucumber mixture to a colander and rinse well. Discard garlic pieces.
- In the same pot, combine sugar, apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, turmeric and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in cucumber mixture from the colander and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Pack mixture of cucumbers and onions into sterilized jars with the liquid brine to about 1/2 inch from the rim. Wipe jar rims, add lids and screw caps.
- Process jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars to clean towel and let rest for 24 hours. You’ll hear lovely popping sounds as the jars seal. If after 24 hours you have any jars that didn’t seal, put in fridge and use in a couple of weeks.
- This is the hard part, let the pickles rest for 4 – 5 weeks before opening. Enjoy.
- Adapted from BHG Canning Summer 2015