Bread and Butter Pickles with a kick

I’ve been making bread and butter pickles for the last couple of years but am always looking for variations. A couple of weeks ago I combined a few different recipes and came up with the one below. I’ve also included some step by step pictures to ease the process.

Always start by sterilizing your jars and lids. I put the jars, even brand-new ones, in the dishwasher. The lids should be placed in boiling then a hot water bath till you use them.

The ingredients I used were:

4 lbs or 15 cups pickling cukes, cut in 1/4 slices, 4 medium onions sliced thin, 1/3 cup Kosher salt, 4 and 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 cups brown sugar plus 1 cup white granulated sugar, 3 tbls mustard seeds, 1 and 1/2 tsp celery seeds, 1 and 1/2 tsp ground tumeric, 1 and 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, 1 and 1/2 tsp ground ginger.

First, wash your cucumbers. Cut the ends off and use a mandolin to make the rippled edges. This is optional but it just doesn’t feel like a pickle to me if they aren’t ridged. Set the mandolin to make them 1/4 inch slices. This way they will have the perfect crunch texture. 

Next, slice the onions. Layer the cucumber slices and onions in a large glass or metal bowl with crushed ice. Toss with 1/3 cup salt. Some recipes call for more salt or soaking in water instead of ice. I’ve tried them all and this is the method and measurement I prefer. Cover the bowl in a wet towel and put something heavy on top. I use my flour canister. Leave them for 90 minutes or so.

After enough time has lapsed, rinse your cuke/onion mix. Rinse three times if you need to. Too much salt will ruin the whole recipe. Since these pickles are sour and tangy, salt flavor shouldn’t be evident.

Fill a canning pot with water to a level just higher than the jar tops and turn the stove on high. While that is reaching a boil…

Combine all your ingredients except the cukes and onions in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiled, pour in the (well rinsed!) vegetable mix. Bring that to a boil, which will take some time. About 20 minutes or so. You’ll know they’re done when they go from dark green to the caterpillar green pickle color.

Ladle this mix into waiting clean jars. Leave 1/2 inch head space. Cover with the hot lids (waiting in the pot of water) and screw on the bands. Don’t make them too tight but do tighten them. In this last batch, I had a jar open up on me when I took them out of the canner when they were done.

Once the water boils again, start your timer at 10 minutes. When they are done, take them out and set them on a dishcloth to cool. Don’t open them until they are completely cooled. I usually wait until the next day. This yields about 5 pint jars.

  Next step, enjoy!

To see Tracy’s other recipes, check out her Writer’s Kitchen or Canning page. For more information on her fiction writing, please go to her AMAZON PAGE.