Bread and Butter Pickles

If you are lucky enough to belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture – One Woman Farm in Gibsonia), you know what it’s like to be immersed in the bounty of delicious local fruits and veggies. With this latest CSA box, I was wondering what to do with a bunch of cucumbers… make pickles of course!

When it comes to pickles, I tend to prefer the sweet taste of the bread and variety so that’s what I decided to create!

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I had three nice sized cucumbers, about 2 1/2 pounds in total. Good to go.

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Bread and Butter Pickles

2 1/2 to 3 lbs cucumbers
1 to 1 1/2 lbs onion
1/4 cup salt
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup red cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric

Wash the cucumbers and slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices depending if you like them thicker or thinner – I go right in the middle:)  Slice the onion into thin 1/16 to 1/8 inch slices and then cut into quarters so you get pieces that are about 1 inch in length.

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Place the cucumbers and onion slices in a bowl and add the salt.  Mix it up so the salt can reach all sides of the slices.  Cover and place in a refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  When I made this batch, I had to go to work and I left them chilling all day, no problem.

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From here, I canned my pickles, but if you plan to cold pack them instead (they’ll only keep stored in the refrigerator for about 1-2 months), you can skip the canning preparation steps.

Head over to the orange marmalade post to read my comprehensive instructions on canning techniques… but here is a quick review.  Wash 4 or 5 pint canning jars.  Heat a large pot of water to boiling that will be able to cover the sealed jars.  Place the empty jars in the boiling water to sterilize them and take them out just before you are ready to fill them.

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When you’re ready to make some pickles, add the vinegar, and remaining ingredients to a 3 to 4 quart pan.  I like to use the 50/50 mixture of red wine vinegar to white vinegar for a slightly bolder taste.

Rinse and drain the cucumber/onion mixture to remove the excess salt.

Add the cucumber/onion mixture to the vinegar solution and heat.  Stir occasionally and remove from the heat just as the mixture starts to boil.

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Ladle the pickle mixture into each of the jars, filling to within 1/2″ from the top of the jar.  Clean the rim using a paper towel. Place on the top and screw the ring on tight.  I find it helps to use a towel to hold onto the hot jar.

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Place the jars into the boiling water and make sure there is at least 1/2″ – 1″ of water covering the jars.  Boil for 10 minutes and remove the jars using jar tongs.  Set your jars on the counter and within 2 to 15 minutes, you should see and hear each lid pull down.  If a lid doesn’t pull down, you should refrigerate that jar and enjoy those pickles first!

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Grill up a nice burger and add some fresh tomato with your homemade bread and butter pickles – nothing better!  Enjoy!