Last year our garden produced lots of cucumbers. At least a lot for our family since only 3 of us like them. We had enough that I wanted to make pickles – bread and butter pickles like my granny’s. The problem was, I didn’t have her recipe. So I called one of my aunts and asked her if she had it. She didn’t. But she said she would look for it.
I began poking around the internet looking for how to make bread and butter pickles and I found several recipes. I printed one out and I guess I just used it as a base because when I pulled it out of the drawer I had written a different “recipe” based on what we liked. Apparently, I kind of did my own thing (as usual). But those of us who like pickles enjoyed them all year.
Our cucumbers are pathetic this year. I’ve replanted, so we’ll see what happens. But I’ve only harvested five cucumbers…five, can you believe it! A friend has taken pity on me and shared some of her wonderful cucumbers with me, so I made a couple of pints of pickles.
Bread and Butter Pickles
Old fashioned bread and butter pickles are easy to make and a great way to preserve the summer cucumber harvest.
- Slice the cucumbers, onions and peel the garlic
- Put cucumbers, onions, and peeled garlic in a big bowl.
- Sprinkle the canning salt over them and then covered them with a clean towel.
- Put ice on the towel.
- Let it sit for about 3 hours.
- After 3 hours make a brine out of the vinegar, cider vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric. Bring to a boil in a large pot.
- Pour the now salted water off the cucumbers and rinse them just a bit.
- Put the cucumbers, onions and garlic in the pot with the brine and bring back to boil for 90 seconds.
- Ladle into hot jars and put on lids.
- Process for 10 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts in a water bath canner.
A few months later my aunt sent me a package and inside were photocopies of my granny’s handwritten recipe cards. Her bread and butter pickle recipe is a little different and if we get any more cucumbers we will try it. I know I loved them growing up – but this recipe was written in 1960 and well, my memories really don’t begin until about 1972. I don’t know if she made any changes to it and didn’t write them down. I do that sometimes. It’s a terrible habit.
Here’s what’s written…
1 gal med sized cucumbers, 8 small onions, 1 green pepper, 1 red sweet pepper, 1/2 cup canning salt. Slice cukes, onions and peppers, add salt, cover with ice and mix well. Let stand three hours. Drain. Make a solution of 5 cups sugar, 3 cups white vinegar, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2 tbsp mustard seed, 2 tbsp celery seed, 1/2 tbs ground cloves. Cover cukes with liquid, bring to a boil and seal.
Clearly, my granny did a lot of canning and understood her directions to mean that you still have to put the mixture in jars and process safely. She kept these in her pantry not in the refrigerator so I know she canned them.
I also have some overgrown zucchini from a friend that I want to make into squash and zucchini relish. I’ve had it before but never made it. If you have a good recipe that is a sweet relish I’d love to have it.
Pickles aren’t the only things to do with cucumbers, you can also freeze, dehydrate, and ferment them.
What are your favorite pickles?