I’ve always loved bread and butter pickles. They are my favorite pickles, especially for putting on hamburgers. This is our 3rd summer here on the farm, and the first time doing some canning. My mom bought a water bath canner last month, so we’ve been canning pickles galore! We have quite a few dill pickles canned since those are the simplest, but I’ve also been mixing in some bread and butter pickles as well.
To tell you the truth, I am not a huge pickle fan, aside from bread and butter pickles. I’ll eat them, but they aren’t on the top of my list unless on a hamburger or sandwich lol. However, since we have so many pickles now, I am going to be eating them more! They are healthy, so there’s that!
Bread and butter pickles take a little more time than regular dill, but they are so worth it and sooooo delicious. The cool thing about pickles is that you can make them for the refrigerator too so you don’t have to bother with canning if you only want smaller batches. This goes for bread and butter pickles as well!
If you don’t want to can these pickles, you can just do the recipe as stated, but leave out the water bath part. Just put them in jars with lids, let them cool on the counter and then stick them in the refrigerator. Let them sit in the refrigerator for at least a couple days or so before eating them for the best flavor.
Let’s get started!
First you’ll need to get your cucumbers sliced up. About 6lbs of cucumbers should fill 4 quart jars. Slice up about 4 medium onions as well.
Mix together the onions and sliced cucumbers in a large bowl or pan. Pour 1/2 cup pickling salt over the cucumbers and onions and carefully mix so that everything is covered in the salt. (I use sea salt, but you can also use Kosher salt. Do not use regular table salt because the additives in it will turn the pickles a dark color)
Now you’ll need to cover the pickle/onion mixture with a clean towel and put ice all on the top of it and let it chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours. This will help keep the pickles crisp (so I’ve read, I’m not entirely convinced about this part!) Make sure to not let the towel drape over the sides of the pan because when the ice starts melting, it will soak up the water and drip all over your refrigerator…. Ask me how I know! lol
When the 4 hours is up, put the cucumber and onion mixture in a colander and rinse well. Let it sit to drain and then rinse again and let sit to drain again while you prepare the canner and jars.
Now, get your canning jars washed and sterilized. You can do this by running them through the dishwasher, or you can wash them and then set them with some water in the canner and boil for a few minutes. I sterilize mine in the canner. This is also good so that when you are ready to pack the jars with the pickles, the jars will be nice and warm already.
So of course, in order to sterilize the jars in the water bath canner, you’ll need to get that thing filled with water about 3/4 full. Set it on the burner on high and put the lid on. You’ll want to get the canner going just before, or as soon as you take the cucumbers out of the refrigerator because it will take quite awhile to get to boiling.
You’ll also want to sterilize the lids and rings at this time. Just stick them in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Then I just turn the burner off and let them sit there until I’m ready to use them.
Once you’ve set the canning jars in the boiling water to sterilize, you’ll want to get the brine ready. Use a 4 quart pot and pour in 2 1/2 cups of white distilled vinegar
2 cups of Apple Cider Vinegar
Add 4 1/2 cups sugar. I know, it seems like a lot, but bread and butter pickles are sweet! This is basically making a thin syrup and it’s so yummy!
Next add 2tbsp mustard seeds…. I don’t understand why the store doesn’t sell mustard seeds in a bigger container! Look at that…. It’s tiny 🙁 I think I may try growing my own mustard seeds next year.
2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper. You can add less if you like, but I find this amount is just right to give it that tang. I don’t like very spicy foods, and this does not make the pickles too spicy, just tangy.
1 1/2 teaspoons of celery seeds
Cut two 1 inch pieces of a cinnamon stick and add that to your brine. That’s about 2/3 of a whole cinnamon stick
I just LOVE these colors!
Next add 12 allspice berries and about 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice
Add 12 whole cloves plus 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
And last, but not least, add 1 teaspoon of Turmeric
Doesn’t it just look beautiful? I love the colors and the smell! It smells like Christmas 😉
Bring this brine/syrup to a boil and then add your pickle and onion mixture to the hot brine. Bring it back to a boil and then turn off the heat.
Take your jars out of the canner with the
Jar Grabber (Amazon.com link) , dumping the hot water back into the canner and set them on a towel on the counter.
Use a slotted spoon and fill the jars with the hot cucumbers and onions to about 1 inch from the top of the jars.
Once the jars are filled, pour the pickle brine/syrup into each jar about 1/2 inch from the top of the jars. I like to take the cinnamon sticks out and let them cool a minute and then cut them up and stick a piece of cinnamon stick in each jar as well.
Use a butter knife to stick down the sides of the jars. Carefully use an up and down motion, going around each side of the jar to get the air bubbles out. If there’s any extra brine left, you might top off the jars if they sank down some after getting the air bubbles out.
Now that the jars are all filled with the pickles and brine, wipe the tops of the jars with a clean damp cloth or paper towel and put the lids and rings on and place them in the boiling water bath canner.
Make sure the water covers the tops of the jars at least an inch (that is the current recommendation). Bring the water back to a boil and let boil for 15min. or longer depending on your altitude.
When the pickles are done processing, pull them out with your jar lifter and set them on a dish towel on the counter to cool, making sure they don’t touch each other. You should hear the beautiful sound of lids popping shortly as they seal. After the jars are cooled, you can check that they’ve sealed by pressing down on each lid. If a lid pops back up, then it is not sealed and you’ll want to put that jar into the refrigerator.
I hope you give this bread and butter pickle recipe a try. It is delicious! You’ll want to let the pickles set for about a month before opening them, so I’ve heard, for best flavor.