September 11, 2011 by Sara Kreidler
It’s been a busy but wonderful weekend. Friday evening, we put up a whole bushel of tomatoes which yielded 17 quarts and 1 pint of crushed tomatoes. On Saturday morning, we got up early to go to the farmer’s market, canned 7 quarts of peaches in light syrup, drove to the country and toured our CSA farm, and Toby made an awesome end of summer dinner. Today, we got up at 6:30 am, canned another whole bushel of tomatoes which yielded 19 quarts of tomato sauce, canned 3 quarts of dill pickles and 3 quarts of bread and butter pickles. And then our friends Mandy and Chef Joe came over and cooked an 8 course feast for us. As this weekend comes to a close, I am sure of two things: (1) we are finally finished canning tomatoes for the season (the final count is 54 quarts and 2 pints of crushed tomatoes and 26 quarts of tomato sauce), and (2) I need a nap.
We haven’t made bread and butter pickles before, and decided on a whim to try out a recipe. We tasted the brine before processing the pickles and really liked it. We can’t wait to try these out in a few weeks.
Update: we finally tasted these pickles. They’re really tasty, but they don’t taste the way I expected them to. I expected sweeter pickles than what this recipe produced. I will make these again, but I will also try the Ball Blue Book’s bread and butter pickle recipe, as I think it will more likely produce the flavor I was looking for.
Adapted from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff
Yields 6 quarts
- 6 pounds pickling cucumbers
- 2 small onions
- 6 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 3/4 cup clover honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons black mustard seeds
- 6 teaspoons crushed red chile flakes
- Wash the jars in the dishwasher.
- While the jars are washing, rinse the cucumbers under cold running water. Cut off the ends of the cucumbers and discard (it is especially important to cut off the blossom end because it has an enzyme that can cause mushy pickles). Cut the cucumbers into fat coins, place in a large bowl and keep in the refrigerator until ready to can.
- Peel and cut the onions into thin half moons and set aside.
- Also, while the jars are washing, prep your canning area. I like to put down old (clean) kitchen towels and hot pads so I don’t have to worry about scorching the counter. Get your jar lifter, lid wand, ladle, rings, lids, and wide mouth funnel ready. I use a chopstick to remove air bubbles, but you can also use a small plastic spatula or plastic spoon (just don’t use a metal utensil, which can scratch and/or crack your jars).
- Remove hot jars from dishwasher, place inside canner and fill the canner with hot water so that all of the jars are full and covered by 1 inch of water. Put the canner on your largest burner and bring the water to a boil.
- Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Add the lids to the simmering water; do not boil the lids.
- Combine the vinegar, water honey, turmeric, dry mustard and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir well to make sure all of the dry ingredients have dissolved.
- Remove the pots of simmering lids and brine from the stove and place on hot pads near your jar filling station. Retrieve the cucumbers from the refrigerator and place near your filling station. Have the canning tools listed in step 4 handy.
- Remove 1 jar from the canning pot and dump out the water. Add to each empty quart jar 1 tablespoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon chile flakes. Divide onion evenly among the 3 jars. Pack the cucumbers into the jars. Place the jar on the counter, place the funnel on top of the jar and ladle in the hot brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar (the bottom line of the screw marks on the jar is a good guideline for ½ inch of headspace). Take the funnel off of the jar and use a chopstick to remove the air bubbles; add more brine if needed to maintain ½ inch of headspace after the jar is de-bubbled. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel. Use the lid wand to remove 1 lid from the pot and place it on top of the jar. Screw the ring onto the jar until it is finger-tip tight (you don’t want it to be too tight or the air won’t be able to escape during processing). Repeat with each jar until all of the jars are full.
- Return the jars to the boiling water in the canner. The water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Place the lid on the canner and process at a full boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel on the counter. Do not disturb the jars while they cool.
- Label the sealed jars and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year. If any of the lids fail to seal, the unsealed jars should be refrigerated because they are not shelf stable.
- It is important to wait until the water in the canner is at a full boil before you return the filled jars to the canner for processing. If it’s not at a full boil when you add the jars, you will have to wait until it reached a full boil before the 10 minute processing timer starts, and the extra time in the hot water at the front end of the processing will result in mushy pickles.