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My paternal grandmother, Dorothy, and my Mom were always so great at gardening and canning (preserving) when I was growing up.

They were both very resourceful and frugal (out of necessity).

My grandma would cold pack beef. A skill I never learned from her, but I wish I had. She passed away in 2010. I had a very close relationship with her and was fortunate enough to inherit a shoe box full of recipes.

She would often send me little pieces of paper with little homemaking tips. I cherish these notes and am working on putting them all together in a new cookbook next year.

Canning / preserving sounds intimidating, but once you learn, you’ll come up with all ways to preserve food like salsa, tomatoes, vegetables, jelly.

All kinds of yummy Summer treats can be preserved to eat during the Winter when fruits and vegetables aren’t as fresh.

One of our family’s favorite recipes are Bread & Butter Pickles. Bread & Butter Pickles are a sweet pickle.

Give them a try! I will walk you through the process of how to can (preserve) them!

Start with pickling cucumbers. I get mine from the Farmers Market. I visit my favorite vendor and she always has pickling cucumbers. She sometimes has 4 cucumbers to a bag for a $1! The best deal! You will need about 12 or so pickling cucumbers.

Let’s gather your supplies. These are helpful tools to have to can / preserve.

  • A funnel to transfer product into jar more easily.
  • Tongs specifically for carrying jars.
  • A winch to tighten rings.
  • A magnetic stick to pick up seals out of hot water.

You can buy these items at the grocery store or Walmart.

Wash cucumbers and peel onions. Slice your cucumbers into thin slices. Like this:

Next thinly slice 3 medium onions. Add onions and pickles to a large bowl.

Add about 4 cups ice and 1/4 cup salt. Cover with a plate that will fill the bowl. This is to soak the cucumbers and onions and keep them crunchy when pickling. Place a heavy object (gallon of water) on top of plate to hold down the cucumbers and onions. Let soak for two to four hours.

Next, prepare your sugar and spice liquid. Add your sugar, vinegar and spices to a pot on your stove top. The spices you will use in this recipe are very basic spices. You can purchase ready portioned spice mixes instead of individual spices if you don’t have the spices on hand.

Cook the liquid on your stove top on medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Do not bring to a boil! Also, be very careful with hot sugar liquid as it will burn skin very easily.

Prepare your jars, lids and rings for canning (preserving). Fill your canning pot with water and place rack in pot.

Boil the jars, seals and rings for at least 15 minutes. This sterilizes them, but also softens the seal for “gluing” onto the jar. When done sterilizing, carefully place jars on a towel on your counter top to be filled.

When your cucumbers and onions have soaked for at least two to four hours, rinse thoroughly.

Fill jars with cucumbers and onions, lightly packing them. Do not overcrowd. You will be adding the sugar and spice liquid.

Carefully pour the liquid into a glass measuring cup. This helps to pour directly into the funnel and not spill on the rim of the jar. Fill the jar to cover the cucumbers and onions.

Wipe off the rim of each jar with a lint free cloth (paper towel works). Place seal and ring on jar. Do not over tighten the ring.

Place filled jars in canning pot and cover the jars with water. You can use the same water that you sterilized with.

Boil the pot for 30 minutes. This seals the product into the jars. When done sealing, transfer the filled jars to a towel on your counter top. Using your canning tongs, turn the jars over and place upside down. Let set for about an hour. Flip the jars right side up and let cool for 24 hours. The flipping process ensures there is a vacuum seal. Now you can tighten your rings.

You can place jars in refrigerator if you choose not to preserve them. Pickles will be ready to eat in a week. They will keep fresh in your pantry (after preserving) for 6 months to a year. The pickles will keep fresh in your refrigerator for three months.

If you have any questions, please send me an email and I will be glad to help!

Homemade Bread & Butter Pickles

 

A sweet pickle that can be refrigerated or preserved.

  • 15 cups cucumbers (thinly sliced pickling cucumbers)
  • 3 medium white or sweet onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup rock or coarse salt
  • 4 cups ice
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  1. Thinly slice cucumbers and onion and place in bowl. Add salt and ice. Cover bowl with a plate fit inside the bowl and put a heavy object on top of plate to hold down the pickles while they are soaking. Let set for 2 to 4 hours.

  2. While cucumbers are soaking, prepare the syrup. In a large pot, add sugar, vinegar, turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed. Place pot on medium heat. Do not allow mixture to boil. Be careful not to splash sugar mixture on skin. Remove from heat. Let cool.

  3. Sterilize your jars. I used 4 large wide mouth quart jars.

    To sterilize your jars, you can use two different methods.

    1) Place all your jars in with lids into a canning pot. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool face down on a lint free towel.

    2) Wash jars in soapy water. Dry. Place on cookie sheet right side up at 225 degrees for 15 minutes.

  4. Rinse cucumbers thoroughly after soaking. Pack cucumbers and onions in jars. Leave a little room at top.

  5. Carefully pour liquid into each jar making sure that the cucumbers and onions are covered.

    Wipe off rim of jars. Top with seal and lid. Do not screw the lid tightly. You will tighten after preserving.

  6. Carefully put jars into canning pot. Make sure water covers the tops of the jars.

    Boil the jars for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and using your canning tongs, carefully move to counter top covered with a towel.

    GENTLY tighten the lids. Using a towel or oven mitt, turn the jars on their tops and let set for 30 minutes. This helps to seal the lids.

    After 30 minutes, turn the jars right side up and let cool overnight. You will hear the seals and lids make a popping sound.

    You can refrigerate the pickles if you choose not to preserve. Pickles are ready to enjoy about a week after pickling.

    Enjoy!

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