Bread and Butter Pickles, July 27, 2020
The Covered Dish
By Debbie Dance Uhrig
Due to heavy rains throughout the entire month of May, my pickle crop is presently in the midst of major production. For those who are tenderfoots in the pickle canning department, next week I’ll share my revised freezer pickle recipe with you. If you aren’t accustomed to canning it can be frustrating, especially if you don’t have an experienced friend in which to consult. After moving to the Ozarks canning has become a bit of a specialty for me. The ‘only’ thing I haven’t canned is fish! Just this past week we had a delicious meal of red beans and rice. In fact it was the last 2 jars in the pantry. Our 19 year old, Phillip, asked if he could help me can more of these, for him to take to his apartment this fall.
Of course I’m all in, the issue is getting him to stay home long enough to assist!
Pickles are ‘usually’ an early spring crop because they like cooler temperatures. One problem I have experienced with late pickles is sunburning, with the heat. I am seriously thinking of setting out more pickles for a 2nd harvest the end of September. Another thing I noticed was the number of blooms originally on the vines. It looked like we were going to have ‘bushels’ of pickles. Due to the heat they produced, but not with the original expectations.
The bread and butter recipe today comes from a former produce family here in Reeds Spring, Missouri. One big reason for raising my own vegetables this summer is the fact that the ‘Patrick’ family is longer selling produce. I totally miss going out to their farm and choosing my fresh vegetables & fruit, for the week. When I wanted to can salsas and tomatoes I purchased them by the bushel, etc. What I like now is hearing my family say: ‘Is this from “our” garden?’ Even though Phillip doesn’t eat tomatoes and cucumbers he likes the idea that we are growing our own foods.
One thing about pickles you can prepare them so many different ways. My favorite is in a mayonnaise/sour cream marinate where I can add more pickles and use the same dressing, for a week. I grew up on a simple vinegar and sugar blend. Last week I made a salad with blanched carrots, peppers, cucumbers and onions. It was a vinegar base and it held in the refrigerator for about a week. Tomorrow I am designing my own recipes for freezer pickles. I’ll share it with you next week. Just a few modifications from my mother’s original recipe.
Every year at Thanksgiving I try to bring several things to the dining table which have been canned or frozen, from the summer produce. It is somewhat invigorating to enjoy fresh cucumbers in the middle of winter. Remember the zucchini/pineapple bread from a week or so ago? It too will make an appearance during the holidays.
Right now we are anxiously awaiting our new 17.5 square foot freezer. It will be stored at our friend’s house. We are stocking it with Angus beef and produce. We have one freezer, but it’s full of what I call regular foods. Once again, a very reassuring feeling when the cold winds blow and the economy is uncertain. If you are thinking about buying a freezer you probably should have ordered it about 2 months ago! Ours is supposed to be in the 3rd week of August.
These pickles are delicious, I hope you have enough produce to can a few jars. Remember they do sell pickling cucumbers in the grocery stores. Sometimes this is nice if you want to ‘test’ a recipe the first time. English cucumbers also work quite well. One English cuke will easily fill a pint jar.
Just outside our office window is a large ‘Rose of Sharon’. Since the blooms unfolded I’ve had the pleasure of watching the humming birds dine. They provide such a connection. I’ve grasped a few photos, but none noteworthy at this time, I’ll keep trying!
Connect with the outdoors and nature, it’s a good release during this time in our lives. Simply Yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Bread and Butter Pickles
Yield: Approximately 14-16 pints
1 peck of pickling cucumbers
(This is between 8 – 9 pounds of pickles.)
14-16 pint jars, sterilized
14-16 flats and rings
7 cups white vinegar
7 cups white granulated sugar
4 tablespoons pickling salt
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground celery seed or regular celery seed
In each jar place the following:
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon dry onion flakes
1 garlic clove
2-3 yellow or red peppers, cleaned and cut into thin pieces to add when packing the jars.
Wash all pickles scrubbing off the prickly nubs, drain on tea towel.
Place lid flats in a saucepan pan of cold water totally covering the lids.
Slice cucumbers 1/4 inch thick or as thin as you can, for sandwiches, of course!
Assemble jars on a jelly roll pan and place the mustard seed, onion flakes and garlic clove in the bottom of the jar. Begin packing the sliced cucumbers in the jars watching for gaps. Add 2-3 pieces or more of pepper for additional color in the jar.
Now prepare the white vinegar, granulated sugar, pickling salt, turmeric and celery seed into a large pot. Stir well to begin dissolving. Turn burner to medium heat and boil the solution for 5 minutes, using a measuring cup & funnel pour mixture over the jars of cucumbers. Have a damp lint-free towel ready to wipe the rims clean after filling. At the same time as you begin to fill the jars turn the saucepan of flats to medium heat and bring to a boil. Using a clean dry lint-free towel remove a flat from the boiling water, dry and attach to each jar tightening down with the jar ring.
Prepare 2-3 large stock pans with warm water for the water bath. Sit 6-7 (usually) jars in the water making sure the water goes about one inch over the top of the jars. Bring the canning jars to a hard boil for six minutes. Using canning tongs remove from the water and set back on a clean jelly roll pan. Cover with a towel while cooling.
I place the mustard seed, garlic and onion flakes in each individual jar because it guarantees an even distribution of spices that could easily cluster if placed inside the vinegar solution.
Do not use table salt for canning as it turns the liquid cloudy.
It is perfectly fine to place thinly sliced onion into the jars with the cucumbers if you desire to do so.