Traditional Bread & Butter Pickles
Traditional Bread and Butter Pickles

Traditional Bread & Butter Pickles

2020 Canning Season is FINALLY here! This year I planted 5 pickling cucumber plants knowing full well that: cucumbers are very sneaky growers, quickly produce, and I NEED MORE PICKLES. Living up to my expectations, they are producing like wild!

Since bread and butter style are my husbands favorite, we opted to kick off the year with a Traditional Style Bread and Butter Pickle. Off to the garden we went and harvested 4 pounds of cucumbers in no time. Then, it was time to break in my gorgeous knew canning studio!

Harvesting Cucumbers
Harvesting Cucumbers

Traditional Style Bread and Butter Pickles

[Yield: (7) Pints]

Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)

  • 7 pint jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings) [Hint: As always, I recommend an extra jar or two ]
  • 1 water bath
  • 1 funnel
  • 1 jar lifter
  • 1 stainless steel ladle
  • 1 large bowl or pot – to soak the cucumbers and onions in
  • 1 large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven) – to make the brine in
  • 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs pickling cucumbers, washed
  • 2 lbs onions
  • 1/2 cup non-iodized salt
  • Ice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorn
  • 3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/8 teaspoon (per jar) Pickle Crisp (OPTIONAL*)

* Read about the benefits of Pickle Crisp over at ‘Pickle Problems? Don’t be Soggy

Process:

  1. Wash your cucumbers in cold water – making sure to knock off the spines – and peel your onions.
  2. First, cut off the blossom end and stem of each cucumber. Then, cut the cucumber into 1/4″ round coins.
  3. Place the cucumber coins into the bottom of a large pot in a thin layer.
  4. Next, slice an onion into thin slices. These will then be layered on the first row of cucumbers.
  5. Next, top the cucumber and onion layers with some of your salt and continue this process until all cucumbers, onions, and salt have been used.
  6. Once cucumbers, onions, and salt have been layered into your large pot, cover with ice and sit for 2 hours.
Layering cucumbers, onions, and salt

7. After your two hours are up, it is time to start your water bath:

    • 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 your 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).

8. Now, drain off all liquid and ice from your cucumber / onion pot. Rinse everything with cold water, and drain again.
9. Combine all spices, sugar, and vinegar into a stainless steel pot (or dutch oven). While stirring, bring the mixture to a boil.
10. Once boiling, slowly add all cucumbers and onions to the brine.
11. Working to ensure that the sugar is dissolved, keep stirring until the mixture is brought back to a boil.

Cucumbers and onions in the brine

12. 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.
13. Place funnel in jar and carefully ladle pickles and brine into each jar keeping a 1/2in head space. [Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]

    • If desired, add in 1/8th a teaspoon of Pickle Crisp to each jar.

14. Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
15. 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.]
16. 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.
17. Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
18. Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes [refer to your elevations processing time for correct info].
19. After 10 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
20. 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.
21. 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.

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