Saturday, August 20, 2011

Canning: Light Bread and Butter Pickles

This was the first recipe I tried from "The Joy of Pickling". It's a lighter version of Old-Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles. This version uses only a quarter of the sugar and adds some water to cut the vinegar. In the book, it's called "Bread-and-Butters My Way" but I renamed it so the name of the recipe described the pickles better.

I used about 4 pounds of cucumbers and got 5 jars of pickles. Instead of using the hot pepper flakes, I made 2 of the 5 jars with 1 dried hot pepper (japones).

Some of my notes about this recipe:
- Turmeric stains so be careful with the powder and brine liquid when pouring. I poured the liquid into my jars that was placed over an old dishtowel.
- Cutting cucumbers with a mandoline slicer cuts down on a lot of time.
- These pickles take a long time since you have to let them sit for 3-4 hours.
- After pouring the brine over the cucumbers and before sealing the jars, run a rubber spatula around the edges of the glass to release any air bubbles.
- If you like crispy pickles (like I do), I used a heaping 1/8 tsp. of Ball Pickle Crisp Granules to each pint jar before packing them.
- I always prepare (heat sterilize) 1 or 2 extra jars just in case the recipe makes more than you expect.

Light Bread and Butter Pickles
From: "The Joy of Pickling" by Linda Ziedrich
Yields: 4 pints

About 3 and 1/2 lb. pickling cucumbers, about 3-5 inches long
1/4 c. pickling salt
4 tsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. whole celery seeds
1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
2 c. cider vinegar
2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground tumeric

1) Slice the cucumbers 3/16 inch thick, discarding both ends. You should have 2 quarts of cucumbers. In a large bowl, toss the cucumber slices with the salt. Top the cucumbers with ice cubes from 2 ice trays. Let the cucumbers stand at room temperature for 3-4 hours.

2) Drain the cucumbers well. Toss them with the mustard seeds, celery seeds and hot pepper flakes. Pack the cucumbers in to 4 pint mason jars.

3) In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, sugar and turmeric to a boil. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumber slices, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two piece caps. In a boiling water bath, process the jars for 10 minutes or pasteurize the jars for 30 minutes by immersing them in water heated to 180-185 degrees F.

4) Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 3 weeks before eating the pickles. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.