Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bread and Butter Pickles by the Pint

Turns out my kids love bread and butter pickles.    I made them for the first time last year and I didn't make enough so this year I'm making a lot more.

I've been using the recipe from The Joy of Pickling but it calls for more cukes than I ever have at one time.

I hate that.

I can as things come out of the garden, which is a different prospect from buying a bushel of something and canning it all at once.

Not that I'm knocking buying a bushel of something and canning it all at once.   It's the only way we can do peaches.

But that's not how I do cukes.  

I have about this many cukes at a time.  If they go in the fridge, they disappear.

Or get partially frozen.  [It's an ooold fridge.]

I hate that.

So I revised the recipe so I could do it by the jar.

I'll just let you ponder on the genius of that idea.


Pickles by the pint. 

As in - you cut the veggies up and figure out how many pint jars they'll make,  then make enough pickle juice for just that many jars.

I know.

I know!

I can now make three jars of pickles.   Or twelve.    How many ever I want!

I had to take a nap from the sheer exhaustion of thinking up such a great idea.

[Please don't feel it incumbent upon yourself to disabuse me of the notion that I am the first person to think this up.   Just let me live in my fantasy for a while.]

Here's how it works. 

1.  Cut up the cukes and onions.   I use about 3 parts of cukes and 1 part onions.   But this is America.  You can use more or fewer onions if you want to.

2.  Measure how many pint jars of veggies you have.  You can pack them into a wide mouth jar and count how many you have or you can guesstimate.  I guesstimated.

[Did you know that the word 'guesstimate' is in the spell check?   It didn't come up as a misspelling like cuke did.   Cuke is not a word according to spell check.  Now you know.] 

3.  Put the veggies in a big bowl with 1 Tablespoon of salt for every pint you're making.   Dump some cold water and ice cubes on the veggies and let them sit for a few hours brining.  [Brining is not a word according to spell check.]   You don't have to use ice.   We never have ice.  I just use cold tap water.    You can put them in the fridge or leave them out.   Whatever.

4.  When you're ready to finish the pickles make this much juice for every pint of bread and butter pickles you want to make. 

Bread and Butter Pickle Juice for 1 Pint
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp Ball Pickle Crisp [calcium chloride]  optional
Bring the pickle juice to a boil in a big pan.   Add the vegetables and return to boil.   Pack into jars and fill with juice.   Cover and process for canning 10 minutes for pints.

UPDATE:   You don't need that extra 1 Tablespoon of vinegar.  Keep it simple and just use 1/2 cup vinegar per pint.     Also,  you can put the pickle crisp right in the jar if you like, instead of in with the rest of the pickle juice.
5.  Multiply that recipe by the number of pints of pickles you want to do.  This means that you will have to do math.

I'm sorry.

You can do it!

6.  If you have extra juice, then put it in a jar in the fridge.  It'll keep forever and you can use it the next time you make pickles.   Just dump it in with the new stuff.  

Note:   The pickles shrink some and the juice evaporates some when you boil it.   If you have to choose between making a little more or a little less, then I'd go for more, but that's just me.   If you run a bit short, then make sure you have equal amounts in all the jars and then add a bit of water to fill it out.   Not a big deal.    Lots of people cut the vinegar by 1/2 when they're making pickles.   You won't even notice. 


  1. I think I have that recipe, those are the best Bread and Butter pickles I have ever had! I think your idea is genius, (we just moved and I have been doing flowers and shrubs this year, we plan on gardening next year so I will keep it in mind. Seems like a good way to do it and avoid the mad rush of tons of it at once. I really enjoy your blog!

    1. Thanks, Beverly! There's nothing quite as lovely as a tower of cuke vines covered in bees first thing in the morning!

  2. Robin, as Beverly said, that is genius. No one but you could have come up with such a clever idea. And I would never disabuse you. :-) Now. I'm going to hover over my cukes and wait for them to do something so I can make a 1/2 pint jar of B&B pickles!

  3. What a great little recipe...when we next have a few leftover cukes, I'll have to try this.

  4. Love this! Giggled a lot, 'cause you are a funny chicita, Robs. And you are genius. The only thing I have to disabuse you of is the idea of 3/8 a cup of sugar. Wha? What the heck is 3/8 of a cup? I majored in English. I didn't have to do no 3/8 of anything! Now I'm going to have to go ask my huz and admit my mathitudinally challengedness.

    Thanks for the recipe! I totally have just a few cukes!

    1. Maybe...you fill up three 1/4 cup measures halfway full? Or maybe, you just make it 1/2 a cup and forget about it? I majored in English too. I suck at Math. And I teach Excel. OH THE IRONY.

    2. If you do an even number of jars, then you don't have that pesky 8th left over. Except 1/8 of a cup = 2 Tablespoons, so it's not really that bad if you do have an odd number.

  5. I am a city boy who loves B&B pickles, doen't garden or cook. I kept the juice from purchased pickles, and added a couple sliced cukes. Zap in the microwave to just about boiling hot, let it cool and zap em again, then a third time just for luck. Over the past 10 years I've started from scratch 3 or 4 times, but otherise I just add more vinegar or sugar or mustard powder. I've also experiment with added ingredients like the juice from pickled jalepenos, which meant stafting a new batch. I know they are nowhere as good as fresh homemade, but they are what I am capable of. BTW 1/3 = .333, 3/8 = .375 so 1/3 cup a couple pinches should be close enough.

  6. Meant to add that your cukes are beautiful, so much nicer than supermarket produce.


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