Bread and butter pickles

by Patricia on July 10, 2009 · 9 comments

Welcome to Day 10 of What have I gotten myself into? (aka NaBloPoMo). I’m actually surprised that I’ve found something to post everyday without struggling. Then again, I did have a lot to share from the 4th of July which helped. But I woke up this morning and thought “I got nothing”. What to do? Worry not, dear readers. My disorganization came to the rescue. Fact: anything I put away for safe keeping will be lost…. at least temporarily.

Which brings us to the pickles.  I actually made these bread and butter pickles in May.  I took pictures too. But I didn’t want to post it then because they had to sit for four weeks before I could taste them. So I left them on my hard drive for a later day. The pickles have been tasted and shared. And I forgot that I had those pictures and had not shared them… until this morning. I was not-quite-desperately looking through my photos to see if there was something I could use today (I almost used a cat picture but you were saved by the pickles… tomorrow though, you may get cats unless I get creative between now and then).

bread and butter pickles

We ate an entire jar of these on the fourth of July. One friend told me she doesn’t normally like pickles but went back for seconds.  The recipe came from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. I’ve also made strawberry jam from this book (for the Bakewell Tarts). I did not have mustard seeds so substituted dry mustard which I wasn’t too sure about at the time, but it worked. The main difference is the brine turned cloudy rather than clear.

I’m really happy with the results and with the fact that I still have three jars left.  I would like to try some other pickles as well but probably the next one will be a quicker pickle, something like pickled grapes (as seen at Smitten Kitchen. Recipe from Molly Wizenberg‘s book A Homemade Life) or bread and butter jalapeños (on Homesick Texan, scroll down toward the bottom for the recipe). I’m also curious about pickled watermelon rind… have you ever tried it?   I’m really into pickles and jams this summer…

Bread and Butter Pickles
(adapted from Ball Blue Book of Preserving)

2 pounds 4 to 6 inch cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 pound onions, thinly sliced
< 1/4 cup canning salt (I halved the recipe, which means it took about 1/6 cup…ish)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard (mustard seeds would be better probably)
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 1/2 cups vinegar

1. Combine cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl, layering with salt.
2. Cover with ice cubes and let stand 1 1/2 hours.
3. Drain, rinse, drain again.
4. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil.
5. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil.
6. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
7. Remove air bubbles. Put on 2-piece lids.
8. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
9. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for flavors to develop (This was the toughest part).
* Makes about 4 pints


1 Patricia July 14, 2009 at 2:41 am

Jennifer – I’m not sure really. I think if it’s only been 3 hours they are probably still edible. Salt is a preservative, but it also makes the cucumbers lose water while the ice helps keep them a little bit crisp so I think they will be soggy but okay (although I’m scared to steer you wrong so rinse a slice of cucumber (to remove some salt) and taste it… just a small bite. At least, that’s what I would do).

2 Jennifer July 14, 2009 at 12:14 am

I forgot to put the ice on the cucumber/onion/salt mixture. Are the cucumbers still good (been sitting for 3 hours) or do i need to throw out?

3 Mike Wolfson July 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm

I made Bread and Butter pickles this weekend, using Cooks Illustrated recipe (which was basically identical to this one).

The recipe was for quick pickles (the intention was to make these in the morning, and they would be ready by evening). Bottom line, they turned out great, and were ready a few hours after making them (although, I expect they will get better, as they age longer).

Plus, I didn’t can them (I just put them in a resealable glass jar). This eliminated a lot of the work involved in canning, and it was a bonus that I could eat them right away.

4 Patricia July 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Katerina – Thanks. You should try it. It is easier than I expected. Also the Ball Blue Book of Preserving is a great primer.

Suzy – I was surprised how well these turned out. Everyone loves them… even the nonpickle-fans.

Tom – I’m completely into pickles right now too. I can’t wait to try some other pickle recipes now (just found one for pickled garlic).

5 Tom July 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I am so in love with things that are pickled. Thanks for posting this. I’m surprised that it only takes four weeks. I would’ve thought that it would have to sit for several months.

Great post!

6 Suzy July 11, 2009 at 7:31 pm

I’ve never made pickles before but your photos make me want to! I love bread and butter pickles and so does my hubby so he would be happy. Thanks for sharing!

7 Katerina July 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I totally want to try canning but haven’t gotten my act together yet. Well done!

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