If your veggie garden is anything like mine right now, it looks more like a scene from Little Shop of Horrors than the tidy gardens that you see in magazines.
And that’s largely because my cucumbers are growing out of control. I really don’t mind though…because we love cukes. My girls love gnawing on them for snacks…we all love the added “cool” that they bring to any salad…and I love pickles!
One of my favorite pickle recipes is one for mustard pickles that our friend Tracy Prather shared on RYGblog last year. But for this week’s abundance o’cukes, I was looking for something a bit sweeter. So today I’m going to share a bread & butter pickle recipe that uses brown sugar baby…so it has to be good!
Ingredients for Bread and Butter Pickles
Gather up the following ingredients…which, when all is said and done makes about 2 quarts of lip-smackin’ pickles.
- The Cukes & Unjins:
- 3 lbs of cucumbers (some pickle recipes call for smaller, pickling cukes…but I used what I had, which ranged in sizes, and they tasted pretty darn good to me)
- 1 lb of onions (that’s about 2 medium to large sized onions)
- 3 tablespoons of kosher salt
- (Note: You could substitute some of the onions for bell peppers if you’d like.)
- The Sweet & Tangy Pickle Juice:
- 3 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 2 ½ to 3 cups of packed brown sugar (or you could substitute regular sugar)
- 1 tablespoon of mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon of allspice (or you could substitute with ground cloves)
- 1 ½ teaspoons of celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
Instructions for Bread and Butter Pickles
Once you have all your ingredients, the steps to making your tasty bread and butter pickles are quite easy.
- Prepare the Cukes and Unjins:
- After weighing your cucumbers…wash them and cut off the blossom end (there’s some sort of enzyme on that end that makes them unsafe to eat)…but you can keep the stem end if want to have a few slices with a handle. I didn’t…so off with their stems!
- Then cut your cukes into slices to your desired thickness.
- Cut off the root end of the onions, peel, and cut into slices. (If you don’t want to cry like a baby…um, like I did, you’ll need to cut the bulb out of the onion (which is on the root side)…that’s where the gas is that stings your eyes. Check out this video for step-by-step instructions on how to do that. I wish I had…sniff, sniff.)
- Combine the cukes and onion slices in a non-reactive bowl. You want to make sure to use a non-reactive bowl because you don’t want the acid in the cukes and onions to potentially react with the metal of some bowls (e.g., copper, aluminum, cast iron)…leaving a slight metallic taste. Stainless steel, glass, and ceramic bowls are all non-reactive.
- Toss them with the kosher salt, cover, and put in the fridge for about an hour. This will pull out the liquid in the cukes and onions…ultimately making them crunchier.
- Pour off the liquid and rinse well a couple of times. Then lay them out on a paper towel and pat them with another to dry them off further.
- Set them aside while you prepare your pickle juice.
- Cook Up the Pickle Juice:
- In a non-reactive pot (vinegar is also acidic) combine all of the remaining ingredients.
- Bring to a boil…then let simmer for a few minutes. If the brown sugar doesn’t dissolve right away (mine did) stir it few times.
- Bring Everything Together:
- Put the pickles and onions back in the non-reactive bowl and pour in the hot pickle juice.
- If you’ve measured everything correctly, the juice should just cover the cukes and onions.
- Allow everything to cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate and Enjoy for Weeks (if they’ll last that long!):
- Once cooled to room temperature, you can either place the entire bowl of pickles (covered) in the fridge and move to the jars later (using tongs)…or move to jars first and then refrigerate. Regardless of when, make sure that you’ve cleaned and fully sanitized your jars and lids.
- Although your pickles will be quite tasty after marinating in the juice for just 30 minutes, they’ll be even tastier if you let them sit for 1 or 2 days…if you can stand waiting that long!
That’s it…you’re done. You now have some of the sweetest, tastiest bread and butter pickles you’ve ever had the pleasure of placing in your mouth.
But before I go, I want to clarify one thing. These are “refrigerator pickles”…which have a shorter shelf life (4 or so weeks) than other kinds of pickles and need to be stored in the refrigerator, as the name suggests. There are other kinds of pickles (e.g., canned, fermented, etc.) that can be stored outside of the refrigerator and for longer periods of time. But these are not those. It’s all in how and with what they were prepared.
In short, the downside to “refrigerator” pickles is that they won’t last as long. The upside is that they are a ton easier to make. But I’m fine with all of that…because these here brown sugar, bread & butter pickles are so good, they won’t come close to lasting 4-6 weeks!
Happy pickle-making friends!