Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bread and Butter Pickled cucumbers 101

First off, I have to say that before I was married to dear old Ace, that had anyone posted how to make a bread and butter pickle, I would have passed it over. When we first got married and Ace put them in the shopping cart, I remember thinking perhaps he wasn't my soul mate. It turns out that in a good marriage that we only need to agree on the things that are our core principles...and be okay with each other having preferences that may not matter. Pickles would be matter of preference. I don't think they reflect any core values. However, I was raised sour Kosher dill pickles all the way and always considered them the righteous choice. The first time I ever tasted a sweet pickle I remember spitting it out is pure disdain. No, that was not last week. I was at a family reunion and a sweet pickle was on a relish tray at the banquet table. I remember thinking, "Wow, the pickles here are evil." I may not have used those exact words. I was probably five years old. I just know that usually I make some Bread and Butter for Ace out of sheer love. Recently however I have found that the addition of Peach Balsamic Vinegar to the brine has made them utterly irresistible to me. I'm not expecting a baby, for the record. Pickled peaches are next on my list. Random...I saw them on a rerun of the "Dukes of Hazard" when the Duke boys where rescuing a pregnant gal from an evil boyfriend. How weird is that? Weird that I remember the pickled peaches or weird that I watch the old reruns of the Duke's? Oh that Luke Duke was dreamy. Wait...where was I?

Yeah. I need to get back on subject. So, it's Tutorial Tuesday and here's the low down on Bread and butter pickles...

My Bread and Butter Pickles
adapted from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook

6 cups thin sliced cucumbers (use Kirby or small unwaxed cucumbers if you can)
1 pound white onion, cut thin
1/4 cup salt
2 cups sugar
2T minced garlic
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground clove
1T mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
2 cups cider vinegar 5% acid (or peach balsamic vinegar for peach B&B's)

Water bath canner
7 sterile pint canning jars
7 new lids

Wash and sterilize your hands and all work surfaces. My kids helped me and they have to follow the same sanitation rules I do. Slice cucumbers and onions thin and place in a large bowl with salt. Cover with water and some ice. Leave out at room temperature for 3 hours.
In a large pot, combine the sugar, curry, cloves, mustard seed, celery seed and vinegar. Bring slowly to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander and rinse them well with cold water. Add them to the hot syrup and heat just below boiling.

Spoon into hot, sterilized jars, fill with the cooking syrup, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Run a non-metal knife along the edged of the jar to remove excess air. Seal with hot lids.

Tighten canning lid. Place in boiling water bath canner and wait for water to return to a boil. Process 10 minutes (at sea level) adjust cooking time for altitude as necessary). When time is finished, remove and place on clean kitchen towel, in a place free from drafts. Allow to cool 12 hours undisturbed. Check to see if jars have sealed.

If you are planning on making pickles with your kiddos, I found this website very cool : Science of Cooking: Pickles. What a fun summertime project! I think it's a good reference for adults too.

There you go. Make some pickles.


Mama Peck said...

Hmmm.. really? The peach balsamic vinegar makes that much difference? We're NOT sweet pickle fans around here. But we do love all things balsamic- that vinegar sounds delish!

Chef Tess said...

Yes! The peach is by far my favorite balsamic of all time...next to their original balsamic that is so deep and rich. The peach isn't dark brown like regular balsamic, it's lighter, almost the color of apple cider vinegar.

mlebagley said...

These look great...except for all that sweet pickle stuff. We must have been raised in the house or something. Give me a garlic dill anyday! Glad that you and Ace can agree to disagree...and that you love him enough to cater to his crazy tastebuds :)