Canning/Preserving Bread & Butter Pickles!
Still canning at this household this week….I love preparing and preserving veggies and fruits.
I am sure that desire comes from both my Grandmothers….we always had sweet pickles, dill pickles and bread and butter pickles on hand with both of them canning on a regular basis.
I am sure for those who have been “following” my Blog, you remember my post about root cellars and my promise to provide canning recipes handed down from my Grandmother(s).
If you care to review that post, titled “Bugs and Spiders and Worms, Oh My…”click on the following link:
My Mother would occasionally, “can” tomatoes, etc;…but the pickles usually came from both of my grandmothers!
My Grandma on my Mother’s side, had a HUGE, huge garden, while my other grandma had a much smaller garden as it was easier for her to manage.
They both always had fresh veggies just waiting to be “put up”, which included plenty of cucumbers and onions.
So each year, both grandma’s would make a big batch of different kinds of pickles, certainly enough to last our family through the cold Winter months.
AND just as we were using up the last of the sweets or the dills or the bread & butter pickles…it would be harvest time, when fresh cucumbers would be sprouting on the vines and sprawling on the sand hills in the flatlands of Kansas.
Pickles were a staple for us.
Mother never let the juice from a jar of pickles go to waste. Remember I was from the land of “waste- not/ want- not”.
Mother would use the juice and the little bits of left-over pickles from the pickle jars… in many different dishes from Potato Salad to Cole Slaw….Deviled Eggs and Chicken Salad.
I carried on the canning tradition…and my children can speak about a few of the canning mishaps!
Oldest son, I am sure remembers my crabapple jelly that turned into crabapple lolly-pop candy!! But that is the way we learn isn’t it? Trial and Error.
I have made these bread & butter pickles for a long time….and have shortened the process a bit.
Below are the step by step process that is very easy to follow.
I like to get everything ready so that I don’t have to stop as I am canning. In other words, my “Canner”, which is as old as the hills, but works just fine and has moved with me on every single move….my saucepan for simmering my lids and bands (rings Grandma called them), My extra pot of simmering water that I use to pour over my sterilized jars of pickles, the jars I intend to use, the jar lifters, large mouth funnels, measuring cups, lid lifters and spatula for removing the air out of the jars, my old crock, spices and ingredients needed for the recipe….and of course a towel to set the jars on.
You don’t need anything special, you most likely have everything you need ….but you can purchase a kit at one of the big box stores (for around $10.00) which will provide you with a jar lifter, funnel, lid lifter and spatula. (I happen to have two of everything, because many times I have “helpers” in my kitchen….:)…people love to watch and help with the process and they get to take some of the pickles etc home with them.)
First I wash the small cucumbers..you can use the larger cukes, but they are tougher and the skins are harder to process…but it can be done.
However, I prefer using the “new” cucumbers which are much smaller and can be found at your supermarket labeled pickling cucumbers.
Rinse them carefully in cold water using a colander
Cut off the ends of the little cukes…do not peel.
Slice the cukes in 1/4 inch slices….
doesn’t have to be perfect…
And slice the onions and break apart with your hands…
Add the pickling salt to the onions and the cukes
Mix with your hands until the salt and onions and cukes are thoroughly mixed.
At this point, I put the mixture in my crock and cover with cold water….but you can use the large bowl you used to mix up the cukes, onions and salt.
Now comes the easy part….let the mixture set at room temperature for 2 hours!!!!! Yeah!!!
After two hours…
Prepare the “canner” or the stock pot with hot boiling water, carefully adding the pre-washed jars.
Put the sauce pan with the lids on simmer
Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and turmeric in a large pot, teflon, cast iron enamel or stainless steel.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, being sure to stir to dissolve the sugar.
Drain the water off the cukes and onions…using your colander.
Be sure to rinse well and re-rinse….removing the salt.
Add the cukes and onions to the spice mixture on the stove and bring to a boil.
Using a slotted spoon, add the cukes and onions to each canning jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of head space….very important.
Ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jars over the cukes and onions.
Remove air bubbles by sliding the spatula down the sides of each jar.
(If needed, add more cukes or juice to the 1/2 inch head space.)
Wipe the rim and sides of the jars with a damp cloth
Center the lid over the jar…
And add the band…do not over tighten. (fingertip tighten)
Process the filled jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes.
Remove the lid of the canner….and let the jars drain for about 5 minutes.
Remove to a towel, Cool and store!
Now how easy was that?
There is an even easier way by giving you a head start with a package…..See below!
Personally, I prefer the old fashioned way…because I am like that….yep!
Here is a bit of trivia for you…Do you know that my oldest son cans/preserves? Actually, all my kids are very comfortable in the kitchen.
Oldest son makes jellies on a regular basis…..from sand plums growing wild in fields and along side the country roads.
He cans, pickles, peaches and makes some of the best mulberry jams and jellies you will ever taste….
Twin #2 also likes to whip up strawberry or peach preserves!
I guess the fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree! (no pun intended) ;0
It is good to know that the canning processes were handed down to me and I have in turn handed down to my children.
Try preserving your fresh veggies….believe me when I say …
You most likely will not buy from the supermarket again.
Have a great day!..And get out those canning jars!
- 6 cups of sliced pickling cucumbers
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup pickling salt or use Coarse Kosher salt (do not use table salt)
- 2 cups of white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
- 3/4 teaspoons ground turmeric (mixed with a little water)
- Soak the cucumbers, onions, salt and cold water to cover... for two hours at room temperature (make sure the salt is mixed in well)
- Meanwhile, prepare the jars by washing and checking for nicks. Discard any chipped jars.
- Sterilize the jars and place the lids (always new lids) and bands in a saucepan to simmer
- Add enough water to the canning pot that will cover the jars once they are filled....keep hot
- In a large pot, combine all the spices, vinegar and sugar...and bring to a boil.
- Add the cukes and onions (rinsed of the salt) to the brining mixture on the stove and bring to a boil again.
- Boil briskly for about 1 minute.
- Add the cucumbers and onion to jars using a slotted spoon and a wide mouth funnel
- Add the liquid brine to bring the contents to about 1/2 inch from the top of each jar
- Wipe the rims with damp cloth and remove the air bubbles (you might need to re-measure the head space)
- Center the lid using the lid lifter and screw the bands to finger tight.
- Process the jars in boiling water with the lid on the pot for 10 minutes
- Remove the lid...let jars sit for 5 minutes before removing from the canner.
- Place on a towel (never a counter surface) and cool for about 12 hours or over night.
- Store in a cool place...these are usually the best if you wait about 2 weeks before opening a jar.
- Follow the more detailed steps and pictures in the text of this post.
- Jars will start pinging (sealing) once they are removed from the water bath. Do not touch the tops of the lids and allow the sealing to take place. However, if after several hours...it appears a jar did not seal...(indention in the center) just sit it in the fridge and use accordingly. The product is still good...it just didn't seal for long term storage....and this is true of anything you "can".
- The amount of jars the pickles produce varies...depending on pint or quart jars AND the cucumbers themselves. I always sterilize more jars than I need...just in case! However, for this particular recipe, I usually end up with about 6-7 pint jars ...or about 3 quarts if using quart jars.