When Life Gives You Cucumbers... - So Many Recipes, So Little Time... Blog at Allrecipes.com - 117147

So Many Recipes, So Little Time...

When Life Gives You Cucumbers... 
Aug. 5, 2009 9:23 pm 
Updated: Aug. 14, 2009 10:12 am


I'm branching out a bit - I've never made pickles before, but when my garden produced an abundance of cukes, I started craving my Aunt Gerry's "Bread and Butter Pickles". I haven't had them in over 20 years, but I decided to try and recreate them. I don't have her recipe, so I scoured the internet to find one that sounded close. This recipe, from Elise at Simply Recipes is the one I chose to try.

I started with 2 1/2 lbs of cucumbers. Next, I sliced them into wavy bites.

Thinly sliced onion went in next - 1 lb. Kosher salt, then mix well.

After covering with a light weight cotton towel, ice was added to the bowl. Then into the fridge for a few hours. Well, more like 6 hours - the boys had Taekwondo, then there was shopping, dinner, etc. I digress - back to the pickles!

Time for the spices - they'll introduce themselves in the photos below.

Two kinds of vinegar - white and apple cider. Store brands seemed to work fine here.

Into the pot go sugar and all those spices, then stir...

...add the vinegar, then bring to a boil. Discard the ice, then drain the cukes & onions. Then rinse and drain a couple of times to get most of the salt out. These are SWEET pickles.

As soon as the pickles come to a boil, they go into the jars. This is done with a slotted spoon, but I was rushing a bit and didn't get a good picture. (You've got a good imagination, right? Picture a spoon in there. ) Next, the hot vinegar mixture is added to fill the jars almost full. Careful... get too close and you'll singe your sinuses!

Now I'm not complaining, but I only got 4 pints out of all this hard work.

Lids and rings on and tight - into the water bath they go. Now I've got one of those smooth-top stoves, so I can't use my canner. In fact, I gave it away. I use my deep 8 quart stock pot. I can get 5 PINTS in it, but I only had 4 to can. Sigh.

After 10 minutes in the pot, the finished product comes out to begin cooling. Shortly after...

Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink!

They all sealed. The rings aren't necessary for storing, so they came off. I doubt they'll last long.

See what I mean?! Already into the first jar.


These were a bit spicier than I'd imagined, but I really like the flavor. I can't wait to try them on a burger.

Now, on to that Zucchini Relish recipe I've been eyeing.

Thanks for dropping by!
Homemade Bread & Butter Pickles
Photo Detail
Aug. 6, 2009 9:59 am
That looks awesome! I've never canned anything before so I can't wait to start soon. Great photos too. How did you get the names of the spices on the picture?
Aug. 6, 2009 9:59 am
Wow they look great, you make it look so easy!! Love the play by play, takes the spookey scary out of canning!! Do the relish soon please!!
Aug. 6, 2009 10:25 am
Wow I'm impressed!.. I've never tried anything like canning before even though some make it seem easy (like you), I hope to one day when life is less busy!.. What great pics as well; I haven't blogged in a while and need to know how you all get these huge pictures and writing on your dishes!.. Would you reveal your secret!.. Looks like you got a helping hand with slicing them too; always more fun to cooking with someone. :) Thanks for sharing!..
Aug. 6, 2009 10:45 am
Thanks for the comments everyone! I use Blogspot and create my blog there, then cut and paste it here. To get the words on the pictures, I use Microsoft Digital Image Editor - it came with the computer.
Aug. 6, 2009 10:47 am
Traci, that's my 9 year-old son slicing the cukes. He's waiting to shred zucchini in the food processer now - my little aspiring chef!
Aug. 6, 2009 11:39 am
Great pics! Hope my cucumbers come in soon!!! I'll definietly be trying this!
Aug. 6, 2009 7:17 pm
Those look so good! Great photos!
Aug. 6, 2009 11:09 pm
Wow, your pictures are so good my monitor smells like pickles! They look delicious. And I love the funny commentary!
Aug. 7, 2009 9:47 am
Great Blog!! Those pickles look awesome and I love the step by step instructions and pictures.
Aug. 7, 2009 4:41 pm
Hi,May I suggest a little trick that used to work very well for my mom when she canned pickles?Before putting them in the water bath she would wrap hand towels or wash clothes around each jar to avoid cracking in the jars just in case they would hit together during the bath.It works especially well if there is excess room in the water bath.Happy canning,Teresa Elswick
Aug. 7, 2009 5:24 pm
Teresa, The jars will NOT crack from bumping against each other to the rythm of the boiling water (I'm a seasoned canner and have only broke jars in two ways: imperfections in the jars such as bubbles or other anomolies and from having too cool of jars from either not heating the jars prior to packing or not having hot enough packing for in the jar). Wrapping towels around the jars would be iladvised. Reason being is there is a science to canning. when water bath canning, one is trying to get the contents in the very center of the jar to 212 degrees (or with low acid foods, one pressure cans to get up to 240 degrees). The recipe that you use tells you how long to hot water bath each particular thing based on time tested (in labs)...well..."time tested" times I suppose is the only good way to put it. Each recipe is tested to see how long it takes for the middle of the contents to hit that temperature consistently. If you wrap the jars in towels you could be throwing off the math and might end up spoiling your food. Granted, it's hard to spoil a pickle, I know some people who don't can them with canners but with the sun (which is not safe, but I'm just saying) but you get what I mean! In the last three years I have only cracked two jars...one of them was an inferior jar and one was my fault for trying to literally cold pack something without warm enough liquid for inside the jar. With the 400 or more jars I have filled in those same years...I'd say 2 broken jars was nothing to be concerned about. BTW, awesome pics, great blog...so awesome!
Aug. 7, 2009 7:52 pm
Thanks for the comments and suggestions! I just bought a 12 quart stock pot to make canning easier. I canned zucchini relish last night (no pics except the finished product - I finished at 2 AM). It was much easier in the deeper pot. I've never heard of putting anything around the jars. I've been taking my chances these last few years since I can't use a canner with a rack. I have been canning for about 20 years and have never broken a jar (well, only one that fell on the tile floor, but that doesn't count.) I've had 2 or three not seal in that time, but I'm not sure why. Thanks again everyone!
Aug. 8, 2009 7:00 am
Wow, good for you! They look yummy! Nothing like home canned pickles. Now I miss my mom...
Aug. 8, 2009 8:55 am
My husband keeps bringing me tons of cucumbers from our garden! I think your recipe sounds divine! I can't wait to try it out!
Aug. 8, 2009 8:55 am
My husband keeps bringing me tons of cucumbers from our garden! I think your recipe sounds divine! I can't wait to try it out!
Aug. 8, 2009 9:17 am
I can't take credit for the recipe (I wish I could!) but if you follow the link above (Simply Recipes) it'll take you to the exact recipe! CookinArgentina, my mom was never into canning, but she would have loved eating these pickles. And if anyone's interested, the zucchini relish is really good! I've got a second batch going now, but I changed the recipe to make it HOT!
Aug. 8, 2009 10:24 am
How do you make it look so stinkin' easy!? I agree with the post above, I can almost smell the pickles.
Aug. 8, 2009 11:55 am
Jrag - it's really not that hard, just time-consuming. If you can follow a recipe you can make pickles.
Mel K 
Aug. 8, 2009 1:46 pm
Wow! Loved hearing about your adventure and the results of your labor. Sounds/looks like you had a great experience.I know the pickles are great. It is a lot of work when you make pickles and relishes, but they are so good and make you so proud when you know that it is your handiwork that has produced the finished product. Good for you for putting those cucumbers to work for your family. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Mel K 
Aug. 8, 2009 1:48 pm
Wow! Loved hearing about your adventure and the results of your labor. Sounds/looks like you had a great experience.I know the pickles are great. It is a lot of work when you make pickles and relishes, but they are so good and make you so proud when you know that it is your handiwork that has produced the finished product. Good for you for putting those cucumbers to work for your family. Thanks for taking the time to share!
Aug. 8, 2009 2:14 pm
Bread & Butter are my favorite pickles! Loved the pics & your story-happy eating!
Aug. 8, 2009 5:14 pm
Your pickles look lovely and delicious. It's been 20 years since I've made pickles. I just planted my cucumbers this morning so it will be a few more weeks. My dill is about 3" tall now. I'm making dill relish but boy those bread n' butter pickles look so good. I'll check out Elise's recipe. I've never made anything from that blog that hasn't been absolutely wonderful. I also raised three boys. They were picky eaters (apparently they've gotten over it. They wouldn't touch a cooked vegetable except french fries, mashed potatoes and corn. But they'd go out into the garden and eat it all raw: snap peas, snap beans, spinach, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes. They'd eat frozen peas straight from the freezer as a snack but never a cooked one. My youngest once told me that he didn't like cooked vegetables because he could taste them. Geeze. My boys are all in their 30's now. And, they eat their veggies raw or cooked.
Aug. 8, 2009 5:56 pm
Dustbunni - I hope my boys grow out of their pickiness. I planted dill and hoped to do dill pickles, but my dill didn't survive the wet weather we've had. I'll have to buy some, since my cucumbers show no sign of slowing down! Thanks everyone!
Aug. 8, 2009 11:16 pm
these pickles look scrummy, will have a go with the two large cues I picked up last night in the supermarket for a few pennies. But one thing mytifies me. Why do you heat process the pickles? Surely the acid in the vinegar will preserve the veges for as long as they need to be, (always assuming you can keep the family hands off them for a while!) I have noticed this with jam. Why do you process that after the jam making. Here in UK we only heat process fruit in syrup to preserve it for the winter- we call it 'bottling'by the way, I have been making jams ,chutneys and pickles for over 40 years and not had a failure yet. Sometimes I come accross a really scrummy recipe which I would like to try, but am at a loss as toknow what to decide...e.g. is the bottling process something essentiol to the chemistry of the recipe, or can I leave it out ? Just found this site by the way, looks tasty, perhaps someone can enlighten me.
Aug. 9, 2009 4:50 am
Judybee, you have good questions - I'm new to pickles as I stated at the beginning of my blog. I think the pickles would be crisper if they were Not heat processed, but as a pickle newbie, I simply followed the recipe. Glad you found this site - it's wonderful! Try clicking on the *Recipe Exchange* tab at the top. You can ask questions there and get answers from people who know. :)
Aug. 9, 2009 7:31 am
Those look so amazing. It makes me want to make pickles. But my boys are weird and won't eat them. I've never tried canning but with lessons like this it makes me think I can definitely do it.
Aug. 9, 2009 8:40 am
Inspiring. Thanks for the encouragement. I canned 25 pints of peach salsa on Friday.
Aug. 9, 2009 10:56 am
My boys won't eat the pickles either! Neither will DH. I'll give some away and eat the rest myself! Peach salsa sounds absolutely delicious!
Aug. 9, 2009 3:21 pm
Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink!! After all that hard work it's the best sound ever.
Aug. 9, 2009 3:37 pm
Ohmygosh! All that slicing! It's making me ill..
Aug. 9, 2009 5:12 pm
I would never make pickles, but your pictures made my mouth water! P.S. I am picking 20# of cucumbers every day!
Mom x7 
Aug. 9, 2009 8:44 pm
I loved your blog. I am waiting for a delivery of canning products as we speak. I am a gardener and I want to try canning my cukes..........thanks for the ez recipe. I'll let you know how I make out.
Aug. 9, 2009 9:35 pm
Is canning REALLY that easy? Put the lids on and boil the jars for a few minutes?? I'd love to try my hand at it... I'm trying to go as organic and homemade as possible but I'm not willing to give up grape jelly or garlic dill pickles yet.
Aug. 10, 2009 4:35 am
Great pics and commentary--love the added in quippies!! I haven't canned in a few years and never had much luck with trying to make dills, seems like the bread and butter or mustard pickles are a little safer since they can be "mushy" without seeming like there's something wrong... I'm sure you wiped off the tops of your jars before putting on the lids and rings but wouldn't want anyone to make the mistake of not doing that since you're running the risk of a non-sealing jar if there is any kind of gunk under the seal...even a salt or sugar crystal can keep it from sealing =-( That's probably what happened with yours that wouldn't seal unless you had a defect in your jar top. Thanks again for the fun blog--love the title, too!! Enjoy your pickles...save some for Thanksgiving when they should be good and 'pickley'!
Aug. 10, 2009 12:40 pm
Allypal, yes, I wiped them off.:) I'm pretty sure the original recipe (the link in the first paragraph) mentions this. If people want to use this recipe, they should check out that link. This was more a blog on method than a recipe. I didn't realize I'd neglected that step until I read your comment. Yes, it's a very important step, and with sweet pickles, I use a damp paper towel rather than dry because the sugars gum up quickly and will keep the jars from sealing properly. Since I wrote this blog, I've canned another batch of Bread and Butters (less spicy) and two batches of sweet zucchini relish with all jars sealing. It really is the best sound, that plinking, when you've finished canning! Thanks for the comments!
Aug. 10, 2009 12:42 pm
Momzilla, canning really isn't that difficult, but certain things do need to be done to be sure that your work isn't wasted. Take a look at the two comments right after yours. I really believe that if you can follow directions, you can get good results! (That's the teacher in me talking - I'm a real beyotch about following directions!)
Aug. 12, 2009 6:44 am
Humm, yummm, loving ur pics and the way u have it set up. Love'm bread and butter pickles. will try these for sure. Thanks!!!!!
Aug. 12, 2009 10:32 am
There is nothing better than hearing the "plink, plink" of jars that seal correctly. Loved the blog, but now I'm at work, in a pickle-less office, and craving pickles!
Aug. 13, 2009 5:00 am
Bread & Butter Pickles Yields 6 pints 4 quarts cucumbers (10 medium) sliced 6 medium onions sliced ½ cup Kosher salt 5 cups sugar 1/½ tsp celery seeds 1 ½ tsp turmeric 2 tbsp mustard seeds 3 cups cider vinegar Don’t peel cucumbers. Slice cucumber and onions. Then add salt and mix gently. Cover with cracked ice, mix thoroughly and let stand for 3 hours. Mix occasionally. (I cover my container with a lid and a heavy towel to keep the ice from melting too fast.) Then drain thoroughly and remove any ice not melted. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers. Heat just to boiling and then pour into processed jars. Clean off any mess on top of jars. Also don’t fill jars too high to prevent them from sealing. Seal jars with hot lids and keep out of any drafty areas until sealed. I place my finished jars back into the warm shut off oven to help with sealing properly. These pickles are crunchy and great. How I preparing jars and lids; Clean jars, rinse and place on cookie sheet and place into my electric oven on lowest degree to keep warm. (I use miscellaneous jar as long as they have a seal inside the lids to fit them. I’ve used tomato sauce, apple sauce and jelly jars for example. It’s saves on buying rings and jars and they work very well. You can do the water bath for preparing your jars to keep them hot but I don’t and they seal fine for me.) Right before pickles are ready to start to be cooked I place the lids into a small pot with water to cover them and boil till hot.
Aug. 13, 2009 6:19 am
I have NO INTEREST at all in pickling, but this beautiful posting really piqued my interest. Well done! My daughter and I will give this a try this weekend!
Aug. 14, 2009 10:12 am
I haven't canned before, but i really enjoyed the pictorial. If i ever do try, i'll be back to follow this great blog!!
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Pam Ziegler Lutz

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About Me
I have three teenage sons who are picky eaters (especially the middle one). I try to cook things that they might enjoy trying, but they're not always willing to try new things. My husband started out a picky eater when we met back in 1986, but he's gotten much better and is willing to try ALMOST anything I make. In my spare time I teach second grade. I have introduced my students to cooking and/or new foods over the years.
My favorite things to cook
I love to try all sorts of new recipes, so I don't really have a favorite thing to cook. I enjoy using fresh ingredients from the garden and canning those ingredients to use year-round. I also enjoy baking treats for my second grade class. I'll try almost anything if I think my family will eat it. Of course, I've been known to try a recipe because I want to, whether they'll eat it or not.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I love making the pumpkin pies and other desserts for Thanksgiving. I always like to try one new dessert for each holiday. Baking Christmas cookies is a tradition that goes back as long as I can remember.
My cooking triumphs
I've made some pretty cool cakes for my boys' birthdays. They include a firetruck, baseball, football, and Pokeball. I've also used shaped pans to decorate everything from Barney and Elmo, Power Ranger, Jeff Gordon's #24 racecar, football helmet, a dog and dog house, a monkey, a giant cupcake, and a penguin. Some recent cakes have been a pizza, chef's hat, and Topsy-Turvy (Mad Hatter Cake.) The last one didn't collapse - that was a real triumph! One of my best triumphs has been teaching my boys to cook. They'll never go hungry.
My cooking tragedies
The first time I cooked a turkey I relied on my thermometer to tell when it was done. It wasn't.
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