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How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles: An Illustrated Guide to an Old-Fashioned Recipe

Butterfly has been gardening and preserving food of all kinds for many years, and she thrives on the creativity involved in these processes.

Try these bread and butter pickles for your next family gathering!

Try these bread and butter pickles for your next family gathering!

Ingredients

For the vegetables:

  • 25 to 30 medium cucumbers (we used about 12 cucumbers in these pictures, so a 1/2 recipe)
  • 8 large white onions
  • 2 large sweet peppers (we omitted these, as my mother is allergic to them)
  • 1/2 cup salt, for mixing into vegetables

For the pickling solution:

  • 5 cups cider vinegar
  • 5 cups white sugar (2 1/2 lbs.)
  • 2 tablespoons whole mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

Note: This recipe is adapted from a 1970s version of Kerr Home Canning and Freezing Book. It will yield 14 pints.

Necessary Equipment

  • A boiling waterbath or steam canner
  • Canning jars (any size), with appropriate lids
  • Jar lifter
  • Tongs, or magnetic lid lifter
  • Sauce pan or stock pot, for boiling pickling solution and heating pickles
  • Large crock or bowl, for salting vegetables
  • Large colander, for draining cucumbers
  • Ladle
  • Canning funnel (has a wider mouth than normal, which fits just inside jar rims)

Instructions: Quick Summary

  1. Salt the cucumbers, onions, and peppers.
  2. Drain the cucumbers and heat them in the vinegar pickling solution.
  3. Prepare your jars and canning equipment.
  4. Pack the pickles into jars and then process them in a boiling waterbath canner.

Please refer to the photo guide, below, for step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Salt Cucumbers, Onions, and Peppers

Slice cucumbers thinly, then slice or chop onions and peppers.

Slice cucumbers thinly, then slice or chop onions and peppers.

A stoneware pickling crock is a worthwhile investment, but if you don't have one, use a large mixing bowl.

A stoneware pickling crock is a worthwhile investment, but if you don't have one, use a large mixing bowl.

Add salt...

Add salt...

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...and stir to distribute evenly.

...and stir to distribute evenly.

Cover, and let sit three hours.

Cover, and let sit three hours.

Step 2: Drain Cucumbers; Heat Them in Vinegar Pickling Solution

Dump cucumber slices from crock or bowl into collander to drain a few minutes.

Dump cucumber slices from crock or bowl into collander to drain a few minutes.

Mix pickling solution in a large saucepan or kettle and bring to a boil.

Mix pickling solution in a large saucepan or kettle and bring to a boil.

Add cucumbers, onions, and peppers, and heat thoroughly, but do not boil.

Add cucumbers, onions, and peppers, and heat thoroughly, but do not boil.

Step 3: Prepare Your Jars and Canning Equipment

While cucumbers are heating, wash (sterilize if necessary) and examine all jars (chips, cracks), rings (bent, excessive rust), and lids (misaligned rubber). Heat boiling waterbath canner, about two-thirds full of water for a full load.

While cucumbers are heating, wash (sterilize if necessary) and examine all jars (chips, cracks), rings (bent, excessive rust), and lids (misaligned rubber). Heat boiling waterbath canner, about two-thirds full of water for a full load.

Either gently simmer the lids (don't boil!), or set them in a small pan and pour on boiling water to cover, to scald them.

Either gently simmer the lids (don't boil!), or set them in a small pan and pour on boiling water to cover, to scald them.

Step 4: Pack Pickles Into Jars; Process in a Boiling Waterbath Canner

Pack cucumbers and other vegetables into jars fairly tightly. Using a funnel, if you wish, ladle on hot pickling solution, leaving  1/2-inch headspace.

Pack cucumbers and other vegetables into jars fairly tightly. Using a funnel, if you wish, ladle on hot pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Place gently in boiling water in canner (water should cover jars by about 1 inch), replace lid, return to a full boil, and process 5 minutes.

Place gently in boiling water in canner (water should cover jars by about 1 inch), replace lid, return to a full boil, and process 5 minutes.

Remove each jar carefully with a jar lifter, and place on a towel away from drafts. Let sit overnight. Jars usually "pop" or "ping as lids seal.

Remove each jar carefully with a jar lifter, and place on a towel away from drafts. Let sit overnight. Jars usually "pop" or "ping as lids seal.

Have Even More Cucumbers? Try This Fermented Pickle!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Joilene Rasmussen

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