Posts Tagged With: cucumbers

Bread and Butter Pickles a Family Tradition

I have vivid memories of eating my aunts Marjorie’s bread and butter pickles as a kid  at her home in Loveland, Co. I remember sitting at her round oak kitchen table(that years before belonged to my grand mother)in the tiny two bedroom gray tar paper house. Aunt Marjorie and Uncle Jack loved to garden and preserve fresh organic food. They were children of the depression and lived a frugal life style but eat better than most kings.She was a master at canning and making preserves and learned a lot from her. If she were still alive today she would be 96 years old and still asking me if I wanted to go out to the garden to pick things for a dinner salad. Fast forward 12  years and I met and married my husband who had eaten many batches of home-made Bread and Butter Pickles too. His Mom and Dad loved to make them out of the garden on the farm. Where neighbors would ask for a jar every time they had a family function or made potato salad . Yet, for some reason I never thought of making a batch of my own sweet/sour/crunchy/onion filled jar of delight. Maybe I thought the process was to long and to complicated for an afternoon project. What I discovered was that this is easy to do in a day and I made about 8 pints my first try. They are as good as every memory I have of the pickles and I cant wait to share them with my kids.

close up of sliced cucumbers

close up of sliced cucumbers

So after looking through recipes that my elderly aunt sent to me. I found her hand written recipe for the wonderful pickles and one that I had copied out of  my mother-in-laws cook book 7 or 8 years ago. ( Again why did I wait so long??)I began with a small batch so that I could taste test them as I went through the process. I wanted a crispy tangy pickle and was not sure I would get it.Really for a beginner pickles are a perfect started point and cucumbers in the summer are always easy to grow or find.

To begin the process of making Bread and Butter Pickles you will need about 20 to 30 med sized pickling cucumbers with the blossom end removed. Removing the blossom end removes an enzyme that make the pickles go soft when heated. You also need around 3 to 4 yellow onions. The yellow stay crisper in the jar so we use them.

about 30 cucumbers and a hand full of hot peppers just in from the garden

about 30 cucumbers and a hand full of hot peppers just in from the garden

After I wash and slice the pickles and onions they soak together in a salt water brine for 5 to 6 hours. This improves the crunch factor and adds the needed salt to preserve the pickles over time. I made 1/4 inch pickle slices  with my mandoline slicer and added them to the brine in the early morning and headed off to a Dr appointment. After lunch I drained off the brine to remove the extra salt and rinsed them with cold water a couple of times and set them aside until the pickle syrup is finished.

cucumber slices soaking in brine

cucumber slices soaking in brine

spices added to apple cider vinegar then boiled

spices added to apple cider vinegar then boiled

After the spices sugar and vinegar boil for just a couple of minutes strain the spices through a cloth or sieve. Add the brined onions and cucumber slices to the stock pot and heat until very hot but not boiling.

heating cucumber slices. onion rings and spiced syrup together in a 5 quart non reactive stockpot

heating cucumber slices. onion rings and spiced syrup together in a 5 quart non reactive stockpot

When pickles are hot, pack into warm sterilized jars and top with enough of pickle syrup to cover all ingredients in the jar. Then clean the lip of each jar and cover with a clean lid and seal. Process all the jars in a boiling water bath for  ten minutes and cool on a flat surface. I got 8 and 1/2 quarts of pickles out of this batch of cucumbers. They should store well for over a year but may lose color the older they get.

packing hot pickles into jars

packing hot pickles into jars

Home made Bread and Butter Pickles.

Home made Bread and Butter Pickles



Bread and Butter Crispy Kerr pickles


20 to 25 med size sliced cucumbers

2 to 3 yellow med onions

3/4 cup salt

3 quarts water to cover sliced veg

Add salt into 4 quarts of warm water and add cucumbers and onions, let set 5 to 6 hours. Drain and rinse with cool water  a couple of times to remove extra salt.

Add to a large non-reactive stock pot:

5 cups apple cider vinegar

5 cups sugar

2 Tablespoon mixed pickle spices

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

Bring mixture to a boil, boil 2 minutes and strain spices from syrup.

Add all the slices of onion and cucumber and heat until steaming but not boiling.

Pack into warm sterilized jars and top with sterilized rings and seals.  Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

remove and cool. Makes about 8 quarts .


After the jars had cooled my son arrived for dinner that evening. I told him what I had made and I asked if he wanted to taste a few of the pickles and give me his opinion. He opened a jar took a fork and pulled out a large amount of dripping pickles and took a crunching bite. He then disappeared into the living room with the entire jar. A few minute later he reappeared in my kitchen with a fork and an empty pint jar. Astonished, I ask where were the rest of the pickles. He replied, rubbing his tummy,” I eat them”. So I know if nothing else Cody and I will eat them and they will never go to waste.



Categories: bread and butter pickles, canning, country cooking, cucumbers, pickles, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Pickle Relish the way to rid your kitchen of extra cucumbers

This summer has been bountiful. The cucumbers, the honey-dew melon, the pumpkins, sweet potatoes  and tomatoes are doing wonderfully due to our unusually warm and wet summer weather. So I am a little over whelmed with the amount of cucumbers that I am getting from the garden this last two weeks. I guess anyone who foolishly plants 9 pickling cucumber plants should plan to make pickles off and on all summer. Making pickles, brined and unbrined was one of my goals for the year.  I am lucky to have help and advice from Grandma Powers as she stays with us for a couple of months while recovering from some of her cancer treatments. So today we talked about the best relishes that she had made over the years and I attempted to reproduce this one today and I think the results will prove that just about any one can make sweet pickle relish.

draining pickle relish in strainer

draining pickle relish in strainer

You have two choices to make before really getting to this stage of the relishing making process. Do you want a fine relish like the commercial store-bought kind or do you like your relish on the chunky side. We like to taste our relish in potato salads and on our hot dogs and I love to have chunky relish on my burgers. The other question is how much relish can you and your family really eat over the course of a couple of months. Home made relish does not have the preservatives that you find in the store. To avoid any chance that the relish would mold,  I canned my mixture in 1/2 pint jars. This makes just enough for party food like one or two large batches of potato salad or 6 or 7 hot dogs.

So with 10 1/2 pint jars and about 10 cucumbers 5 inches long, I was ready to think about making the sweet hot dog style relish. In my mother in-laws” Ball Blue Book” ( 29th edition  published in 1974) I found this recipe on page 66.

          Cucumber Relish

3 quarts chopped cucumbers

1 large red pepper chopped

1 large green pepper chopped

1 med onion chopped….. I actually used 1 and 1/2 med onion

1 quart vinegar ….. I used 3 cups apple cider vinegar and 1 cup white vinegar

1 Tablespoon turmeric

1/2 cup table salt

1 Tablespoon pickle spice

2 teaspoon whole cloves

2 teaspoon whole allspice

2 cinnamon sticks or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons powered cinnamon

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar.

Combine chopped cucumbers, peppers and onions in large bowl. I chopped my cucumbers by hand with the help of a mandolin slicer but many people chop up the vegetables in the food processor for a finer texture. Sprinkle turmeric over chopped vegetables. Dissolve salt in two quarts hot water and pour over mixed veg; let stand 3 or 4 hours. Drain relish and cover with 2 quarts of cold water let stand while preparing jars. Drain a second time when ready to add pickle syrup to veg. Place spices in a cheese cloth bag or a knee-high ladies hose, simmer in a pot of the vinegar and sugar mixture.

pickle syrup with spices

pickle syrup with spices

relish with pickle syrup before boiling

relish with pickle syrup before boiling


After the syrup is boiling hot strain or take out spice bag and pour over veg mixture. Pack boiling hot relish into hot ball jars, leaving 1/8 head space. Add lids and seals to cleaned tops of jars and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes about 5 quarts of relish. Let mixture rest 24 hours before eating so flavors have time to settle.

finishe jars of pickle relish

finished jars of pickle relish

I could not help tasting the bit that would not fit in the jars after packing. The result is sweet and tangy with a wonderful crunch and a zip of spice. I can’t wait to taste this in my next batch of Potato salad. I think it has a wonderful burst of flavor. Hope that this gives you ideas for how to use up some of those extra cucumbers from the summer garden. Next time I will be making my mother-in-laws bread and butter pickles and Onion slices. They are my favorite pickle of all time and I love eating them with a fork right out to the jar so keep reading for that one in two weeks or so. Happy eating JoLynn!

Categories: canning, cooking, cucumbers, fermentation, organic foods, pickle relish, pickles | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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