Czech Bread and Butter Pickles
After several years of poor cucumber production at the farm due to our Mother Nature method of gardening. We plant the seeds and water as we can and Mother Nature takes it from there. This year my cucumbers are producing very well. We harvested a large bucket of lovely cucumbers and today was Pickle Canning day.
Our favorite sweet pickles are Bread Butter Pickles with a twist. Instead of larger slices of cucumber I use a mandolin and slice them super thin and add sweet red pepper.
I used a few vintage jars for refrigerator pickles to eat now and to share with friends. The pint size jar is a blue Ball jar, the jar on the left is a light green Drey jar and the jar on the right is a Ball Hinge Top Jar. Aren't they gorgeous? It's a fun way to share your pickles as gifts in vintage canning jars.
For pickles to enjoy later I used new jars, lids and screw tops.
Remember to sterilize your jars whether they are new or vintage, including the lids and rubber gaskets. I use my dishwasher or you can use boiling water in a large pan on the stovetop.
It's also a good idea to determine how many pounds of cucumbers you have harvested to estimate your supplies before you begin. I multiplied the recipe by 6 resulting in 15 pints and 6 quarts of pickles. I admit that I didn't estimate acurately before I began the process and this resulted in three seperate trips the grocery store for more supplies.
My day started at Penzy's Spices to gather the mustard seed, turmeric, celery seed and cloves.
They have the best spices and the staff is always so helpful it's a beautiful shop that's fun to explore.
Now for the recipe...
This isn't the exact recipe of my husband, Dan's grandmother, but he says that it tastes much like it and she always cut her cucumbers wafer thin making an almost relish style pickle that works great for hot dogs and hamburgers.
Czech Bread and Butter Sweet Pickles
3 lbs of cucumbers
2 cups red or white onions
1 sweet red pepper
10 tablespoons Chopped Garlic Cloves
1/2 cup pickling salt
6 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon turneric
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon celery seed
Begin by slicing all vegetables super thin using a mandolin. As you slice the veggies, layer them in a non-reactive bowl (I use my porcelain sink) and sprinkle with salt and ice as you slice. When all vegetables are sliced add water and let soak for 2 hours.
Drain the water using a plastic colander and rinse well for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
Add vegetables to a large pan on the stove. Then add the vinegars, garlic, celery seed, turmeric and sugar to the pan and stir together.
Place 1/2 of the mustard seeds and all of the cloves in cheese cloth and tie with a string. Add the bag to the pot. Add the other of the mustard seeds to the pot. Stir to blend.
Bring the contents of the pot to a near boil and then remove from heat.
Add your lids to a pan of hot water on the stovetop and bring to a boil to sterlize.
Start a large pot of water to boil for the jars once they are filled with pickles.
Fill the jars with pickles and add liquid from the pot as needed to cover pickles in the jar. Leave 1/2 inch of space from the top of the jars.
Take a clean wet cotton towel and wipe the rims of the jars and then dry the rim with a clean dry cloth.
Remove the lids from the pan on the stove and dry with clean dry cotton cloth. Place on jars and screw on rings to the point of resistance.
Once all jars are filled with pickles and the water is boiling add jars to pot for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes remove from pot and let cool on a towel. You will hear the jars pop as they seal. Check after one hour that all jars have sealed by pressing on the top of the lids. If they move up and down they have not sealed. You will need to move these jars to the refrigerator and consume within 2-3 weeks.
As Dan and I worked in the kitchen filling the jars with pickles it brought back memories from my childhood of canning and pickling with my sister Lisa, my Mom and Grandmother. We used to can pickled beets, dill and sweet pickles every Summer. The women and girls were always in the kitchen processing green beans, sweet corn, strawberries, jellies, and jams. Things always taste better when you have made them with your own hands and so much fun to open a jar in the Winter.
I hope you give pickling a try...
Blessings my friends - Julie