Monday, August 1, 2011

Bread & Butter Pickles

While at the farm last weekend, I spied some pickling cucumbers.  Believe me, the temptation of the premade bread and butter pickles was strong.  But, for $4.65 a jar, I instead opted for the cucumbers.

I've never made real pickles before.  Pickled beets?  Yes.  Refrigerator pickles?  Sure.  Marinated cucumber salad?  You betcha.  But, it can't be that hard, right?

Apparently it's a long process.  But, no, it isn't hard.

First, wash and slice your cucumbers and a large white onion.  I started with about 8 cups of sliced cucumbers.  I could tell you how many pounds or how many cucumbers, but they are so varied in size and weight it wouldn't be very helpful.  Don't worry, it's not an exact science.  You can have a little extra pickling liquid.

Toss them together in a big bowl and cover with a quarter cup of kosher salt.  Lay a towel over the top (you want a tea towel not terry cloth) or a cloth napkin.  Top with ice and place in the refrigerator for four hours.  Why?  Beats me, but I read it everywhere while researching, so I did it.

These sat overnight.  

Remove the ice and the towel, then drain the salt water.  I gave them a good rinse because I made the mistake of eating one like this.  

Make your pickling liquid.

2 Cups of Sugar
1 Cups of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cup of White Vinegar
2 TBSP mustard seeds 
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp celery salt
1 cinnamon stick
10 cloves 

Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Place the cucumbers and onions in a jar (again, you can repurpose a jar for this - save a spaghetti sauce jar or one from artichoke hearts, like I do.  Since we're not actually canning it to be preserved, you just want something glass to let these sit in the fridge for a few days).

Ladle the hot liquid over the top until all the cucumbers are covered.

Place in the fridge for a few days.  Eat.  These last a while, too, because of the vinegar. 

I added some leftover beet juice to the center jar to see if we could get pink pickles.  I read a story about kool-aid pickles years ago and wanted to give it a try.  I'll let you know how that works out.

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