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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bread and Butter Pickles

One of the first things that I learned to preserve by canning was pickles. A friend and neighbor let me tag-a-long in her kitchen as her husband and she prepared their pickles. It was an awesome and unexpectedly easy process.  They made dill pickles and so I made dill pickles. I only liked dill pickles so what was I missing right? Well, as I have begun to eat more fruits and veggies and less processed foods store bought foods, I began to expand my horizons with different pickles. 

Bread and Butter Chips, they have become my new obsession. How have I lived 30 or so years and never had a bread and butter pickle?! I love them! However, I was not in love with the store bought varieties use of high fructose corn syrup, so I set out to make my own using cane sugar. 

My Goodies
First step though, was getting pickling cukes. My first year at this Village abode and I was taken by surprise that my garden was devoured by wild life. One day I had beautiful cucumber plants and the next day they were all gone. Just wiped out completely.  I am lucky to be in a small village that is surrounded by rural farming communities. I was off to my favorite local farm stand where I got to use my cool bushel basket that I bought at Tractor Supply, to hold all my goodies. It’s probably not an essential part of farm market shopping but it sure felt nice to me. 

After picking up a peck of pickle cucumbers. (Say that fast 5 times lol) I went home to wash them and then soak them in an ice water bath. I got out my jars, washed them up and sterilized them. I keep my jars in the oven at 175 degrees to stay warm once they have been boiled to sterilize. 

For this recipe I used:
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
2 cups of pickling white vinegar 5% acidity
3 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½  teaspoon celery seeds
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
½ teaspoon of pickling spices
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (it’s optional but I love the little kick this gives the pickles)

To Prep the cucumbers, I slice them into as uniformed slices as possible. You do not want them too thin either or they will lose their crunch. I then soak the slices in ice cold water for 1 hour at least.  This is usually how long it takes to bring my water bath canner to a good full rolling boil. 

While soaking the cuckes, I, in a non-reactive pot,  bring to boil the vinegar and sugar. To this I add the spices and let boil for 10 minutes.

Drain the cucumbers. I then cold pack them into sterilized quart jars.  I then add the hot pickling liquid right to the jars. Process them in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Let these cool and marinate for at least a day in the pickling liquid before you eat them. The waiting is the hardest part. I also prefer these cold so as they cool, I like to stick them into the fridge so that when the day waiting period is up, I can eat them.  This recipe usually makes 4 quarts of pickles.
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