Canning: Bread and Butter Pickles
- Ready in: Prep: 4 H 20 M, Cook: 15 M, Total: 4 H 35 M
- Complexity: medium
Start with the freshest pickling cucumbers you can find; your pickles are only going to be as good as the produce you start with. The fresher the cucumbers are, the crispier your pickles will be.
Step by Step Directions
PREP THE CUCUMBERS: Carefully rinse the cucumbers, scrubbing away any dirt that may have stuck to the ribs.
Slice off 1/8-inch from the ends and discard. Slice the cucumbers in 1/4-inch thick slices, place in a large bowl.
Toss sliced cucumbers and onions with salt, cover with ice and chill 4 hours.
THEN RINSE AND DRAIN: Add the sliced onions and pickling salt. Stir in so that the salt is well distributed among the cucumber slices. Cover with a clean tea towel (thin towel, not terry cloth). Cover with a couple of inches of ice.
STERILIZE THE JARS: If you are planning to store your pickles outside of the refrigerator for any length of time, you will need to sterilize your jars before canning, and heat the filled jars in a hot water bath after canning.
Put in the refrigerator and let chill for 4 hours. Discard ice. Rinse the cucumber and onion slices thoroughly, drain. Rinse and drain again.
If you are planning to eat the pickles right away and store them the whole time in the refrigerator, you can skip the water bath step. It's still a good idea to sterilize the jars first, you can do that by running them through the dishwasher, or placing them in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.
To sterilize the jars for canning, place empty jars on a metal rack in a large, 16-qt canning pot. (Jars must rest on a rack in the pot, not on the bottom of the pot). Fill with warm water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to warm to keep the jars hot and ready for canning.
Remove with tongs or jar lifters one by one as you can the cucumbers.
Sterilize the lids by bringing a pot of water to a boil and pouring water over a bowl containing the lids.
BOIL VINEGAR, SUGAR, PICKLING SPICES: In a 4 qt. or 6 qt. pot, place the vinegar, sugar, and all the spices. Bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the sliced cucumbers and onions. Bring to a boil again. As soon as the sugar-vinegar solution begins boiling again, use a slotted spoon to start packing the hot jars with the cucumbers.
PACK JARS WITH CUCUMBERS AND ONIONS POUR PICKLING SYRUP OVER THEM: First, pack a jar to an inch from the rim with the vegetables. Then pour hot vinegar sugar syrup over the vegetables to a half inch from the rim.
Wipe the rim clean with a paper towel. Place a sterilized lid on the jar. Secure with a metal screw band.
PROCESS IN HOT WATER BATH: If you are planning to store pickles outside of the refrigerator, process the filled jars in a hot water bath for at least 15 minutes. Return filled jars to the same canning pot with its already hot water. Water level needs to be at least one inch above the top of the cans.
Bring to a boil and let boil hard for 15 minutes, or 20 minutes for altitudes of 1001 to 6,000 feet. Over 6,000 feet, boil for 25 minutes. Remove jars from pot.
Let cool down to room temperature. Jars should make a popping sound as their lids seal. If a lid doesn't properly seal, do not store the jar outside of the refrigerator.