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Sunday, July 25, 2010

bread and butter

the cucumbers are still coming on strong. we have had plenty of rain and very warm weather for central NY. there are enough cucs for a batch of bread and butter pickles. I started out with gramma gearhart's recipe but it has changed quite a bit over the last 45 years. one of the items that i eliminated was green peppers.

jill's bread and butter pickles:

note: the size of this recipe can be reduced

8 quarts sliced cucumbers
5 sliced large onions
3/4 canning or kosher salt

for syrup:
5 pound bag of sugar (roughly 10 cups)
6 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon celery seed
4 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes(can be omitted if you can't take the heat:)

2 cloves of garlic for each quart jar

slice 8 quarts of cucumbers about 1/4 inch thick. place in a pot, bowl or whatever you have that will hold them all.  add a heaping 1/2 cup of kosher or canning salt and cover with ice and water

let stand for at least 3 hours. during that time slice 5 large onions. i cut the onions in half and then slice them a little smaller than the cucs. peel 1 clove of garlic for each pint jar and 2 cloves of garlic for each quart jar. set aside till it is time to fill the jars.

it is a great time to get out your canning jars (enough to hold 8 quarts in whatever combination you choose) make sure that the jars are spotlessly clean and that there are no chips on the rim at the top(critical for sealing the jars) you will need a jar ring and new lid for each jar...

the canning process for these pickles is called 'hot pack'. 2 things are essential in successful canning. everything must be very clean and very hot!  i put my clean jars in the dishwasher and run it through a full cycle, timing it so that they are in the drying cycle when it is time to fill the jars. the lids and rings go into my steamer and i boil them for 20 minutes. the water is boiling as i use them.

okay: time to make the pickles.

the jars are in the rinse cycle of the dishwasher, the lids are rattling away in the boiling water on top of the stove.

drain the cucumbers

place all the syrup ingredients in a 12 gallon pot. stir till it comes to a boil.

add the onions, bring to a boil

add the drained cucumbers, continue stirring till it reaches a simmer and the cucumbers have turned from green to yellow-green

take out 1/2 of the jars and plop in garlic

fill jars 3/4 with pickles and top with syrup, leaving 1/2 inch at top

run clean damp paper towel around top of jar to make sure no seeds are there

take out hot lid and ring and secure lid on jar (twist)

continue procedure till all pickles and syrup are gone

now you can not mess with these jars till you have heard the magic 'ping' which means that the jars have sealed. when the jars have cooled, you can check to make sure that they are sealed by pressing on the center of the lid. there will be no play on sealed jars

if by some missed seed, chip in the rim, etc that one of the jars has not sealed...just place it in the frig and eat them in a couple of weeks

if you have leftover syrup: combine it with mayo,shredded cabbage and make coleslaw.



  1. OMG, this makes me want to grow my own cucs. not kidding. looks so good!

  2. if only I had the storage room I once had, I'd be trying this out.

  3. I recognize that picture of your Maryland nephew on the counter- your brother has one just like it on the fridge