Thursday, August 20, 2009

Homemade bread & butter pickles

Okay, if you are off sugar or don't eat a lot of it - click away now. This recipe is NOT sugar free. Or even low sugar.


I made these pickles years and years ago and I always remembered how well they came out. And since we've been blessed by family members with an over abundance of fresh produce, I decided it was time to try it again.

Okay, get ready. I've gots lots of directions and tons of pictures. Here we go!

You will need:

7 quarts of sliced cucumbers (This is equivalent of about 16 good sized cukes)
5 cups of sugar (I warned you!)
1/3 cup of coarse salt
6 white onions
4 cloves of garlic
3 green peppers
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. Celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. Tumeric
1 Tbsp. Mustard seed

Other stuff:

About 6 quart sized (or 12 pint sized) canning jars
2 big pots (or one pot and a canning pot)
Lots of ice
Old towel

Wash you cucumbers very well with warm waster and soap. Rinse and slice them up. Measure them out into a large bowl.

OH! Before I forget, all this slicing takes some time, so occupy your little ones with something fun, like stacking cans or something.

Okay, slice up your peppers, onions and garlic. I chopped up one pepper very fine and then left the other two kind of chunky. You can do it anyway you want. I did the same with the onions. I chopped up two really fine with my food chopper and then sliced the rest into thin strips.

I have no pictures of the onion chopping because chopping six onions will. make. you. cry. This is the hardest part of the whole project. Anyway, moving along.

Mix your cukes, onions, peppers, garlic and coarse salt in a big bowl. I just used my (clean) hands to toss everything very well. I ended up needing two bowls.

Mix a lot of ice (I didn't measure, but I suspect is was at least 20 cups) of ice throughout the cucumber mixture. Again, I used my hands to mix it thoroughly.

Set the bowls aside and let them sit for three hours. Now would be a good time to go dress up your baby and take them outside to get a picture for the RDA photo contest. That's what I did.

On a serious note, I really would suggest timing this project so that your little one(s) are napping or at the very least occupied in another room during this next part. If you are making a batch this big, it'll take at least an hour and require your full attention. And you don't want babies around boiling water. Especially when you are using salad tongs instead of proper canning equipment. But anyway, we'll get there in a minute.

Mix together the rest of your ingredients (vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seed and mustard seed) in a big pot and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, drain your cucumbers very well. Do NOT rinse. Take out another large pot (or your canning pot), fill it about halfway and bring to a boil.

You're vinegar mixture should be boiling now - throw all the cukes into the pot and stir well.

They are starting to look like pickles! This is so exciting!

Now we want to bring the cuke/vinegar mixture just to a boil. While you are waiting, prep your cans and lids. We are going to be putting them in boiling water, so we need to warm them up a bit first. Wash them well, and then set them in hot (not boiling) water.

By now, your pot of pickles and your pot of water should be boiling. Turn the cucumbers on low and remove your first jar from the hot water and (carefully) spoon in the pickles. Leave about a 1/2 inch of space between the lid and the pickles. Spoon some of that yummy pickle juice in there too. Before you place the lid on, make sure you use a damp cloth to clean the rim of the jar - even the tiniest speck will keep it from properly sealing. Screw on the lid and set aside. Repeat with enough jars to fill your pot of boiling water. Mine fit four. Very carefully put each jar into the boiling water. There should be just enough water to cover the lids.

Set your timer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, warm up some more jars in your bowl of hot water and then fill them with pickles.

*Ding, Ding* Time's up!

Now, if you have a proper canning pot, you'd just lift your rack and remove your cans. I like to live on the wild side, so I extracted my boiling hot jars with a pair of salad tongs. It worked, but I do not recommend it!

Place the jars on a large towel on your counter.

Repeat this process until all your pickles are gone. Don't move your canned pickles off the towel for at least 24 hours. Test the seal by making sure the center of the lid doesn't "pop" when you press on it. Don't be alarmed if you hear some of the cans "pop" after initially removing them from the boiling water - they will reseal as they cool.

I'm really, really pleased with how these came out. My hubby tested them on a tuna sandwich a few days after I made them and thought they were great.

Please let me know if you try these - I'd love to know how you like them!


  1. My 12 month old son loves dill pickles and the store brands all have dyes in them, which I try to avoid. I have some canning supplies, but so far I have been too nervous to try it! Where did you find your recipe?

  2. I love all these pictures. And I LOVE that picture of Peanut stacking cans! I wish you could be my personal chef. :) Well, me and Lucas'!

  3. Love how you posted what your baby was doing during all of this. We moms are such multitaskers. Cant wait to try this recipe Thank You