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How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles: An Illustrated Guide

Updated on July 2, 2015
ButterflyWings profile image

Butterfly has been gardening and preserving food of all kinds for many years, and she thrives on the creativity involved in these processes.

Try These for Your Next Family Gathering

Ingredients for Bread and Butter Pickles

Vegetables:

  • 25 to 30 medium cucumbers (we used about 12 cucumbers in these pictures, so a 1/2 recipe)
  • 8 large white onions
  • 2 large sweet peppers (we omitted these, as my mother is allergic to them)
  • 1/2 cup salt, for mixing into vegetables

Pickling Solution:

  • 5 cups cider vinegar
  • 5 cups white sugar (2 1/2 lbs.)
  • 2 T. whole mustard seed
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1/2 t. whole cloves

Note: This recipe is adapted from a 1970s version of: Kerr Home Canning and Freezing Book, and will yield 14 pints.

Necessary Equipment for These Bread and Butter Pickles

  • A boiling waterbath or steam canner
  • Canning jars (any size), with appropriate lids
  • Jar lifter
  • Tongs, or magnetic lid lifter
  • Sauce pot, for boiling pickling solution and heating pickles
  • Large crock or bowl, for salting vegetables
  • Large collander, for draining cucumbers
  • Ladle
  • Canning funnel (has a wider mouth which fits just inside jar rims)

Step One - Salt Cucumbers, Onions, and Peppers

Slice cucumbers thinly, then slice or chop onions and peppers.
Slice cucumbers thinly, then slice or chop onions and peppers.
A stoneware pickling crock is a worthwhile investment, but if you don't have one, use a large mixing bowl.
A stoneware pickling crock is a worthwhile investment, but if you don't have one, use a large mixing bowl.
Add salt...
Add salt...
...and stir to distribute evenly.
...and stir to distribute evenly.
Cover, and let sit three hours.
Cover, and let sit three hours.

Step Two - Drain Cucumbers; Heat Them In Vinegar Pickling Solution

Dump cucumber slices from crock or bowl into collander to drain a few minutes.
Dump cucumber slices from crock or bowl into collander to drain a few minutes.
Mix pickling solution in a large saucepan or kettle and bring to a boil.
Mix pickling solution in a large saucepan or kettle and bring to a boil.
Add cucumbers, onions, and peppers, and heat thoroughly, but do not boil.
Add cucumbers, onions, and peppers, and heat thoroughly, but do not boil.

Step Three - Prepare Your Jars and Canning Equipment

While cucumbers are heating, wash (sterilize if necessary) and examine all jars (chips, cracks), rings (bent, excessive rust), and lids (misaligned rubber). Heat boiling waterbath canner, about two-thirds full of water for a full load.
While cucumbers are heating, wash (sterilize if necessary) and examine all jars (chips, cracks), rings (bent, excessive rust), and lids (misaligned rubber). Heat boiling waterbath canner, about two-thirds full of water for a full load.
Either gently simmer the lids (don't boil!), or set them in a small pan and pour on boiling water to cover, to scald them.
Either gently simmer the lids (don't boil!), or set them in a small pan and pour on boiling water to cover, to scald them.

Step Four - Pack Pickles into Jars; Process in a Boiling Water Bath Canner

Pack cucumbers and other vegetables into jars fairly tightly. Using a funnel, if you wish, ladle on hot pickling solution, leaving  1/2-inch headspace.
Pack cucumbers and other vegetables into jars fairly tightly. Using a funnel, if you wish, ladle on hot pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Place gently in boiling water in canner (water should cover jars by about 1 inch), replace lid, return to a full boil, and process 5 minutes.
Place gently in boiling water in canner (water should cover jars by about 1 inch), replace lid, return to a full boil, and process 5 minutes.
Remove each jar carefully with a jar lifter, and place on a towel away from drafts. Let sit overnight. Jars usually "pop" or "ping as lids seal.
Remove each jar carefully with a jar lifter, and place on a towel away from drafts. Let sit overnight. Jars usually "pop" or "ping as lids seal.

Something Fun to Try - an Interesting Preservation Process

Comments

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    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      8 years ago

      Wonderful! I hope you are as delighted with them as my family is.

    • profile image

      Deanna 

      8 years ago

      Ok! So I am going to make this today! Can't wait to try it. :p

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      8 years ago

      Deanna, great! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Deanna 

      8 years ago

      I am going to bookmark this page

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      8 years ago

      Bread Bin Berty, let me know how they turn out! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. :D

    • profile image

      Bread Bin Berty 

      8 years ago

      This stuff looks amazing, I've just printed your instructions out, will buy the ingredients and have a go!

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      9 years ago

      Fastfreta, you know it's never too late to learn! Seeing a row or three of newly canned food on your shelves may give you almost as much satisfaction as a freshly scrubbed house. :-)

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      9 years ago

      Ivorwen, do try them, if you can.

      There is a very good reason to heat the pickles in the solution, instead of leaving them completely raw before packing into jars. Heating them helps them pre-shrink a bit, so you don't come back to your pantry one day and find a bunch of floating pickles and wasted space in your jars. In this recipe, I'm not sure it makes much difference, though, as the salting period helps draw out much excess moisture.

      Some people also say that a brief, pre-heating period helps keep pickles crisp, so you don't have the wonderful experience of opening a jar of mushy pickles with which to impress your family. ;-)

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      9 years ago

      Jarn, your question is hard to answer, because a dill is not just a dill...there are many varieties, and the same is true of bread and butter pickles. For instance, Kosher dills don't have any dill at all, but are based, as I recall, on garlic. (I've never made that variety.) Most dill recipes call for "mixed pickling spices," which usually includes cinnamon, powdered ginger, whole mustard seed, whole allspice, black peppercorns, whole cloves, dillseed, coriander, whole mace, bay leaves, and dry crushed red peppers. Some dill pickles also undergo a lengthy soak in a fairly heavy brine. My favorites include this spice mixture, fresh garlic, and fresh dill.

      Conversely, bread and butter pickles have no dill, do include lots of onions, turmeric, and sugar or, as Ivorwen has noted, honey. Some recipes call for dry ginger and peppercorns, but I suppose one major difference is that dill recipes nearly always call for white vinegar, and bread and butter pickle recipes often use cider vinegar.

      I chose this recipe out of many variations because my husband is fondest of them, and they go a long ways - they are powerfully flavored, good for relish trays, and simple to make.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      9 years ago from Southern California

      My mother would love this hub. I've never canned anything in my life, I wish I had done so when I was younger. Good hub, anyway.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 

      9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      This recipe is somewhat different than the one I tried this year. In ways, it looks simpler, as the pickles are heated in the brine. The recipe I used had honey in it and the vegtables were packed into the jars, then the brine was poured over the top. May give this one a go -- if I have enough cucumbers! :)

    • Jarn profile image

      Jarn 

      9 years ago from Sebastian, Fl

      Those look really tasty. I love pickles. How is this recipe different from dill pickles? Or more exactly, what ingrediants give bread and butter pickles such a different flavor?

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