Best Bread and Butter Pickles

Friends rave that these are the best bread and butter pickles they’ve ever had! This recipe makes 8 quarts – but be prepared to give a jar to everyone who tastes them. Buy the freshest cucumbers possible for making pickles. For brining, use a large plastic bin that can be purchased at a restaurant supply store. It comes very in handy for pickling and fermentation projects. Also, a commercial sized stainless steel bowl works well, too.

INGREDIENTS:

25 cucumbers, thinly sliced*
6 onions, thinly sliced
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup canning or pickling salt (use non-iodized salt only!)
Ice to cover cucumber mixture
3 cups cider vinegar
5 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon ground turmeric

*Do not purchase commercially waxed cucumbers for pickling. Be sure to discard the blossom and stem ends of the cucumber.

METHOD:

Sterilize 8 quart jars, lids and screw bands. Side aside.

In a HUGE bowl (or tub), mix together cucumbers, onions, green bell peppers, garlic and salt. Cover mixture with 2 inches of crushed or small cubed ice. Allow to stand approximately 3 hours.

In a large saucepan, combine the cider vinegar, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, whole cloves and turmeric. Bring to a boil.

Bring water in hot water bath canner to the boil.

Drain liquid and remove any ice left from the cucumber mixture and rinse thoroughly. Distribute cucumber mixture into sterilized quart jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. (Don’t pack cucumber mixture too tightly.)

Ladle boiling vinegar mixture into each jar, filling to 1/2-inch from top. Release air bubbles by inserting a flat plastic (not metal) spatula between the food and jar. Slowly turn jar and move spatula up and down to release air bubbles. Adjust headspace, then clean jar rim with a dampened paper towel. Place lid, gasket side down, on jar sealing surface and add screw band.

Place jars in hot water bath canner. Add more boiling water, if needed, so the water level is at least 1 inch above jar tops. Turn heat to its highest position until water boils vigorously. Cover canner, set timer for processing time required, and adjust heat setting to maintain a gentle boil. Boil for 15 minutes.

When processing time is complete, remove jars and place upright about 2 inches apart on wire racks or towels. Let cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours.

Before storing, remove the screw bands of two-piece lids, recheck the seals and wipe the jars clean. Then label the jars with the name of the product, processing method used and date.

Store pickled products in a cool, dark, dry place.

YIELD: 8 – 1 quart jars

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