This past weekend I was lucky enough to spend time with Frank's Aunt Tammy and learn all about how to pickle! I've been a dill pickle fan since I can remember and since I live in Georgia now, I thought I should probably learn how to make bread and butter pickles, which, to my amusement are gluten free AND dairy free....so much for bread and butter right? An homage to the southern cooking culture you would say.
First thing's first: getting together all the jars, equipment, time (and lots of it), as well as the bushel of freshly picked cucumbers from the produce stand Frank's Aunt Tammy visits often. Something I learned: fresh cucumbers pickle better because they are crisper and hold their form!
We washed all the cucumbers, chopped then into 1/8 inch rounds, and began the soaking process. We soaked this batch in pickling lime, which is a sort of calcium soak that helps the cucumbers stay crispy and crunchy during the pickling process. This step can be omitted from the recipe if you'd like, but if you want your pickles extra crunchy, buy a bag of pickling lime and follow the instructions. Once that step is done you can move onto the full recipe!
We went out back on her farm and fed the cucumber scraps to their chickens and got to say hi to their horses too! She lives on such a beautiful piece of land and soon we will be planting a garden there, I cannot wait I'm so ecstatic.
Since the cucumbers had to soak, I came back on Saturday morning to finish up the pickles and actually learn about the canning process! We chopped the onions and chilled with the cucumbers for multiple hours. After that we combined the vinegar and sugar spiced syrup, then brought it to a boil with the cucumbers. While those were cooking, we used a large (and I mean VERY large) enamel pot to boil the jars in along with the lids, this helps sanitize them and keep them warm so that when the hot cucumber mixture is placed in them they don't shatter.
One by one we placed the hot cucumber mixture into the glass jars leaving about 1/2 inch of space, sealing them and placing them in boiling water for an additional 10 minutes. We removed them with long metal tongs and placed them on the counter to cool and seal. Then voila, pickles! I snuck a few pieces when they were still warm and they were so good!!! The recipe for the bread + butter pickles is below, a family recipe from Rosemarie Newman. She is so sweet for sharing it with us.
bread + butter pickles (v + gf)
recipe from the kitchen of rosemarie newman
1. In a 6 to 8 quart stainless steel, enameled, or nonstick boiling pot combine cucumbers, onions, pickling salt, and garlic. Add 2 inches of cracked ice. Cover with lid and refrigerate for 3-12 hours. Remove any remaining ice. Drain mixture well in a large colander and remove the garlic. Set aside
2. In a large boiling pot, combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, tumeric, and celery seeds. Heat to boiling, add the cucumber mixture and return to boiling.
3. Pack the hot cucumber mixture and liquid into hot, sterilized pint canning jars (see below)* and leave 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (starting the timer when the water returns to boil). Remove jars and cool.
*To sterilize empty canning jars, wash them in hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Place in boiling water for 10 minutes.
4. Label your jars and enjoy!
4 quarts (16 cups) sliced medium cucumbers (1/8 inch slices)
8 medium white onions, sliced (we used vidalia onions)
1/3 cup pickling salt
3 cloves garlic, halved
3-5 cups cracked ice
4 cups sugar (you can cut this down to 2.5 cups if you'd like them less sweet)
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1.5 tsp ground tumeric
1.5 tsp celery seeds