How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles

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How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles

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Pickling produce for preservation (say that ten times fast) is a staple food preservation technique, it is a simple process that is easily adapted to almost any food. From Corned Beef to pickles, fermented food is found in every culture.

Today we are going to go through a simple way to begin learning about pickling and fermented foods by showing how to make bread and butter pickles.

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs. of 4- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers
  • 8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 cup pickling lime (optional- for use in variation below for making firmer pickles)
  • 1/2 cup canning or pickling salt (most large grocery stores sell this)
  • 4 cups 5% vinegar (Or substitute 5% apple cider vinegar works well).
  • 4 and 1/2 cups sugar (You can substitute Splenda, or omit sugar altogether)
  • water
  • a package of pickle spice (or)
  • 2 tbsp. mustard seed
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. celery seed
  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric

Equipment

  • Jar grabber
  • Magnetic Lid lifter
  • Jar funnel
  • 1 large non-reactive pot; (stainless steel, glass or ceramic)
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • 1 Water Bath Canner
  • Wide Mouth Pint Canning Jars
  • Canning Lids
  • Canning Rings

Procedure

The basic recipe is simple, but if you are willing to put in the extra work, there are some variations for firmer pickles.

1. Selecting the cucumbers

Good cucumbers are dark green, firm, have lots of “warts”, and are not bloated. Bad ones are overripe, has yellow or white areas in the skin, and the warts are almost all gone. If you cut it open, you will see developed seeds.

2. How many cucumbers?

You will need approximately 3 or 4 cucumbers to fill each pint jar. Get cucumbers that are around 5 inches long because you will cut off the ends so they will fit with ¼-inch to spare…

3. Get the jars and lids sanitizing

I use our dishwasher to wash the jars. I get it running (with just the jars) while I am cutting and prepping everything else, so it’s done by the time I’m ready to fill the jars. If you don’t have a dishwasher (or don’t trust it), submerge the jars in a large pot (the canner itself) of water and bring it to a boil.

4. Get the canner heating up

Fill the canner about 1/2 full of water and start it heating (with the lid on).

5. Start the water for the lids

Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes. Realize that everything gets sanitized in the water bath later, this helps ensure their isn’t spoilage later, and makes me feel a lot better about the safety of the final product.

6. Wash and cut the vegetables

Cut a 1/16-inch slice off the blossom end of the cucumbers and discard,
You can leave the ¼ of the stem or slice the stem end off, depending on preference…
Prepare the cucumbers into 3/16-inch cross-wise wedges.
Slice the onions thinly (1/8 inch or less)

7. Combine cucumbers and onions in a large bowl.

Add salt to the sliced cucumbers and thinly sliced onions. Cover with 2 inches crushed or cubed ice

8. Refrigerate

Refrigerate the cucumber/onion mix for 3 to 4 hours, adding more ice as needed. Then drain and rinse, discarding the liquid.

9. Combine the other ingredients in a separate pot and boil

Combine these ingredients in a large non-reactive pot. Boil for 10 minutes.

  • 4 cups 5% white vinegar
  • 4 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • Commercial Pickle mix or:
  • 2 tbsp. mustard seed
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. celery seed
  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric

10. Drain the cukes/onions and add to the hot liquid

Drain the cucumbers and onions. Add them to the hot mix from the last step and slowly reheat to boiling.

11. Fill the jars

Fill the jars with slices and cooking syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

12. Process the sealed jars

Adjust lids and process according to one of the methods below.
The first method is easiest, but the second method yields firmer pickles:

a. Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Boil them for 10 minutes (or as directed by the instructions with your canner).

b. low-temperature pasteurization treatment:.
The following treatment results in a better product texture but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage

  • Place jars in a canner filled half way with warm (120º to 140ºF) water.
  • Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars.
  • Heat the water enough to maintain 180 to 185ºF water temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Check with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180ºF during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185ºF may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.

c. Altitude Adjustments – Boil pints for:

  • 10 minutes from 2 sea level to 1,000 ft.
  • 24.15 minutes from 1,001 to 6,000 ft.
  • 25 minutes above 6,000 ft.

13. Finished

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool overnight without touching or bumping them.

Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed.

If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it.
Wait 4 to 5 weeks before eating to let the cucumbers develop into pickles….

14. If you want firmer pickles:

  • Wash cucumbers.
  • Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard. Cut into 3/16-inch slices.
  • Mix 1 cup pickling lime and 1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon water in a 2- to 3-gallon crock or enamelware container. (Don’t inhale lime dust) .
  • Soak cucumber slices in lime water for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. I keep them in the fridge during this time.
  • Remove from lime solution, rinse, and resoak 1 hour in fresh cold water.
  • Repeat the rinsing and soaking steps two more times. Handle carefully, as slices will be brittle.
  • Drain well.




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