Bread & Butter Pickles
Pickles are easier to prepare than most folks realize. Especially if you don’t have to can them and process them for long-term storage.
This small batch is kept in the refrigerator and produces a very tasty sweet and sour pickle.
You don’t need any special equipment and you can find canning jars at just about any supermarket. Now you can buy plastic one-piece lids for fridge and freezer storage and I recommend these.
THIS RECIPE MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART.
FOR THE PICKLES:
4 to 6 pickling cucumbers (cucumbers should be not much larger than 1 inch in diameter, and
4 to 5 inches long)
1/2 to 3/4 of one, medium size onion.
1/2 red bell pepper.
1/4 cup, pickling salt (coarse kosher salt)
2 quarts, cracked ice
water to cover
2 tablespoons, mustard seed.
1 heaping teaspoon, celery seed
FOR THE SYRUP:
1 1/2 cups, vinegar
*NOTE: Use cider or distilled white vinegar, do not use wine vinegar.
1 1/2 cups, sugar
2 heaping teaspoons, pickling spice mix.
PREPARE THE PICKLES:
Carefully wash the cucumbers and bell pepper. Slice all vegetables very thin, using a food processor with a narrow slicing blade, or by hand, or using a V-slicer or mandoline. Toss the sliced vegetables together in a glass or crockery bowl large enough to hold twice the volume of the vegetables. Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables, add the cracked ice, toss again to blend all ingredients and add water to just barely cover the vegetables. Place a heavy plate on top of the vegetables to keep them below the top of the liquid.
*Set aside for 4 hours. Add more ice from time to time as the ice melts.
PREPARE THE SYRUP:
Place the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices in a 4-quart Pyrex or other microwavable container (the large Pyrex measure works very well)
Microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes. [If a microwave is not available, simmer the syrup in a narrow saucepan on the stovetop, over low heat, for the same length of time.] Allow the syrup to cool. Strain the syrup and discard the spices.
ASSEMBLE THE PICKLES:
Place one wide-mouth quart canning jar (or two wide-mouth pint jars) with their lids in a pot of water to cover, place over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer (180 degrees). Remove the pot from the heat and allow jar(s) and lid(s) to remain in the hot water until needed.
*After the 4 hours are up (crisping the vegetables as described above) pour the vegetables into a large colander and rinse well. The cucumber slices should taste only slightly salty. Return the rinsed vegetables to the bowl, add the mustard seeds and celery seeds and toss well until evenly distributed. Set aside.
Return the syrup to the microwave, microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes [or heat the syrup on the stovetop] until an instant read thermometer shows the temperature of the syrup is 190 to 200 degrees.
Place the vegetables into one wide-mouth quart jar, or in 2 wide-mouth pint
jars that have been scalded as described above. Pour the syrup over the vegetables, place the lids on the jar or jars, tighten well, allow to cool to room temperature and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The following day, turn the jar upside down – make sure the lid is on tight – then continue to turn every day for 2 weeks. (This is to insure that the pickles are evenly flavored)
After 2 weeks open the jar and taste. The pickles should be ready to eat.
Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 months.