Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bread and Butter Pickles (with a Kick!)

My new co-worker, Joy, must have a fabulous garden. She has been bringing in freshly picked vegetables to share.  I have already enjoyed some beautiful and delicious green beans and squash.  Last week she brought a big basket of cucumbers. I took some of those and they were delicious. A couple days later, she brought in more cucumbers, and the first ones weren't even all taken.  By the end of the week, she asked if I would like to take all that was left. Of course I did. I never want to see food wasted, and especially garden fresh vegetables. 

Once home with all those cucumbers, I knew there was only one thing to do . . . make pickles.  I made quick pickles, Bread and Butter pickles, the recipe from Mother Earth News.  I adapted it slightly, cutting back on the sugar and adding some red pepper flakes. 

The recipe calls for covering the cucumbers in ice and refrigerating for 4 hours.  Because I was juggling all sorts of things needing attention over the weekend, mine stayed in the fridge overnight. No problem, they were perfectly crisp the next morning. 

There is no processing here;  no heating up the kitchen.  This is a refrigerator pickle.  The recipe given is for 6 pints of pickles. Because refrigerator space is precious real estate in my kitchen, I chose to use quart jars instead. 

I'm a little crazy about these pickles!

Bread and Butter Pickles (with a Kick)
adapted from Mother Earth News
5 pounds 5 - 6 inch pickling cucumbers
6 cups thinly sliced Vidalia onion
1/2 cup salt
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. (or more) red pepper flakes, optional

Wash the cucumbers well. Cut off 1/4 inch from the blossom end and discard. Slice cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices.  In a large bowl, combine sliced cucumber, onions, and salt  Toss gently and cover with a 2 inch layer of ice. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, up to overnight, adding more ice as needed.

In a large stockpot, combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, and continue boiling for 5 minutes.  Drain the cucumber onion mixture, then add to the hot vinegar.  Bring to a boil, then turn off heat. 

Fill clean jars with the cucumbers and onions, leaving 1/2 inch space at top of jar.  Carefully, pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch space at top of jar.  Run a knife along the sides of the jars to remove any air bubbles. Wipe down the jar rim wipe a wet cloth and add lids. 

The recipe recommends letting the flavors develop for 7 days before eating. We were tearing into them right away!


  1. Yum! These look great! Cold process pickles is really catching one.

  2. These sound fabulous! My cucumber crop was a bust...but next year I am going to make some pickles. And I love the kick!

  3. i love making my own has been awhile:) thank you for sharing this recipe.. cant wait to try this version.

  4. Ahhh yum! Homemade pickles are one of my favorite foods!