I can’t contain my excitement about my ever producing garden (I know, you’re super excited too!)
Current Counts: (clarification – this is what is still remaining on the plant)
- 75 tomatoes (you read that right!!)
- 5 jalapenos
- 4 banana peppers
- 6 bell peppers
- 5 revived-cabbage (take that, worms!)
- 4 fuzzy headed corn (Reminds me of the plumes on marching band hats)
- Who knows how many okra (I’m at the point where I can harvest every other day!)
- Too many bush beans
- Too many sugar snap peas
- Too many sneaky cucumbers (Let me tell ya, I want to pickle them so bad but but the time I find them, they are nearly half the length of my forearm!)
Side note: anyone want to re-do my pantry for added shelf space and/or buy me another deep freeze (preferably a stand-up but I’m not picky) 🙂
Moving on – as you know, I currently have cucumbers coming out my ears. The pesky things hide until they are too big (over 3″) for traditional pickling. (Note: you can use whatever cucumbers your heart desires but the smaller the better. If they get too large they may become bitter or mushy.) However, I planted those dang things (and my dill plants) so I can have all the pickles I wanted – so I was going to do just that.
By now I have over 6 lbs of cucumbers in my fridge and I’m busy all weekend (fair warning!) so it is time to make pickles! Please keep in mind that I had a lot more cucumbers that I was anticipating so I had to double the recipe (correctly might I add – unlike when making Caramelized Pineapple-Habanero Salsa). Even with doubling the recipe, I still had to make another bath of pickle brine so keep that in mind!
Easy Bread and Butter Pickles
[Yield: (2) Quarts]
Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)
- 2 quart jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings) [Hint: I usually add an additional jar or 2 just in case. In this recipe, I had just over 6lbs of cucumbers (not quite double the recipe) but I was still able to produce 6 quart jars.]
- 1 water bath
- 1 funnel
- 1 jar lifter
- 1 stainless steel ladle
- 1 knife or mandolin
- 1 large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven)
- 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)
- 3 1/2 lbs of pickling cucumbers, washed (Remember, you can use any type of cucumber but those that are around 3″ long are preferred)
- 2 1/2 cups white vinegar (a minimum of 5% acidity)
- 2 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup Ball Bread & Butter Pickle Mix
To prevent browning of fruit, place in a mixture of 4 cups of water to 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice.
* You can always add in pickle crisp (1/8 teaspoon per pint or 1/4 teaspoon per quart) if desired. Read about the benefits of Pickle Crisp over at ‘Pickle Problems? Don’t be Soggy‘
- Inspect each of your jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
- Place wire rack into bottom of water bath with ‘arms’ up to allow jars to be placed.
- Fill you water bath with enough water to cover each of the jars with 2-3″ of liquid and place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil).
- Using a knife or mandolin, first cut off the flowered end of the cucumber and throw away. (The flowered end of the cucumber contains enzymes that will further soften the cucumber. If you are unsure as to which end is the ‘flower’ end, cut off both to be safe!) Then, finish slicing the cucumbers into 1/2″ coins.
- In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and pickle mix.
- Bring pickle bring mixture to a gentle boil for 1 minute.
- Remove empty jars from water bath by lifting the wire rack and setting the arms on the rim of the water bath. Then, using jar lifter empty and remove the jar from the water.
- Tightly pack raw cucumber coins into empty heated jars.
- Using a ladle and funnel, pour pickle brine mixture into a hot jar keeping a 1/2in head space. [Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
- Using the debubbler, remove remaining air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding additional pickle brine mixture.
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
- Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten. [Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel.]
- Once finger tightened, return to warm water bath to avoid thermal shock. [Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.] Lower wire rack once full.
- Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
- Once boiling, set timer for 15 minutes [refer to your elevations processing time for correct info].
- After 15 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
- Once again, lifting wire rack and placing arms on canner rim, use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
- Wait 24 hours before touching the jars. After 24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed). Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.Please note: pickled items are best used when stored for at least 4-6 weeks before opening!Additionally, since I JUST finished making these, I will have to let you know how they work out in 4-6 weeks. Worst case I have a backup plan – the dehydrator!