I’ve become such a geek about canning fresh fruits and vegetables. I live in the middle of downtown Chicago, so I lack the space to grow my own produce. But, I am happy to make do with what our neighborhood farmer’s market has to offer. Last summer I bought a big bag of discounted ugly tomatoes every week, and we had enough canned tomatoes to last us through January.
This summer I am branching out beyond tomatoes. So far I’ve canned blueberries and cherries, but this week I wanted to try something a little more savory. Lucky for me, Sheeringa Farms had an abundance of pickle cucumbers – perfect! My dad celebrated his birthday this week, and pickles are one of his favorite treats, so I knew at least one person who would appreciate the joyful effort required to put up pickles.
I found a recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles from Ball, the company that makes the jars I use for canning. This recipe was incredibly easy to follow and not nearly as messy as tomatoes!
Bread and Butter Pickles – 7 pints
4 pounds 4-6 inch cucumbers, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup kosher salt or pickling salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons tumeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon peppercorns (I probably used 1 1/2-2 teaspoons)
3 cups vinegar
Combine cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl, layering with salt. Cover with ice cubes. Letr stand 1 1/2 hours. Drain; rinse, drain again.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a boil. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil.
Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars (you can warm empty jars and lids in the same large pot you’ll use to process the filled jars in the next step). Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims and put lids on.
Process filled jars for 10 minutes in boiling water.
Allow 4-6 weeks for fresh pack pickles to cure and develop wonderful flavor. I took a few bites while packing them into the jar, and they were already so flavorful and delicious!
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