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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Zesty Bread 'N Butter Pickles

Locally grown pickling cucumbers became available about mid July.  I bought 2 quarts to start on my quest to find at least one good dill pickle recipe.  That was quickly followed by another 4 quarts of cucumbers an finally a hamper.  I spent a total of $30 on pickling cucumbers.  In perspective that would have bought me 6 - 1 gallon (3.8 L) jars of kosher dill pickles but store bought dills have sodium benzoate (a preservative) and yellow dye 5 (allergen), two ingredients we are avoiding wherever possible.  To break even on pickles I needed to have a total yield of 22.8 L of homemade pickles but only if I made all dill pickles.  Other store bought pickles, like sweet bread and butter pickles are as high as $3.89 for a 500 ml jar.  I decided to make a variety of cucumber based pickles to ensure I realized a savings.  Over the next few days I will share what I made with you. 

zesty bread n butter pickles and freezer pickles
The first cucumber purchase was used to make Zesty Bread 'n Butter Pickles (left) and  freezer pickles (right).  Both are a sweet, tangy bread and butter pickle.  One is canned and the other is partially pickled before packing into jars then put in the freezer.  I used Tattler reusable lids on the canned pickles as pictured.  The bands are still on them because the jars just came out of the canner.  I used Bernardin storage caps on the jars for the freezer.  I have found that metal bands will rust in the freezer.  Note the difference in the colour of the two pickles.  The freezer pickles retain a brighter green colour.  Both are very flavourful pickles well worth having on hand.  My yield was 10 - 250 ml jars or 2.5 L.  At store bought prices this yield would have cost about $19.45 regular price and as low as $9.95 sale price depending on where purchased.

zesty bread n butter pickles ready for storage
The Zesty Bread 'N Butter Pickles was a new recipe I decided to try this year from Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving, the Canadian equivalent to the Ball Blue Book.  I did a half batch rather than the full batch that would have given a yield of 7 - 500 ml jars.  I was quite pleased with the initial flavour of the pickles.  They looked quite nice in the jars as well.  There were no seal failures with the Tattlers so that was rather nice as well.

When making pickles, it is important to use a kitchen scale.  Most of the recipes are in pounds or kilograms with respect to the cucumbers and some additional vegetables.  Be sure to tare the scale with the bowl or container before weighing the produce.  To tare the scale, place the empty bowl on the scale and set to zero.  Now add the produce a little at the time until you reach the correct weight called for in the recipe.  Remove the filled bowl and prepare as called for in the recipe.  The scale should be tared each time you use it with a bowl or container.

Zesty Bread 'N Butter Pickles
source: modified from Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving, 2006, Pp. 73.

3¼ lb pickling cucumbers
½ lb onions
8 tsp pickling salt
2½ c white vinegar (5% acetic acid)
⅔ c granulated sugar
¼ c pickling spice
1 tbsp celery seed
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric

Wash cucumbers.  Cut a thin slice from each end of the cucumbers and discard.  Slice cucumbers and onions ¼ inch thick.  Layer the cucumbers and onins in a large glass or stainless steel container, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt.  Cover and let stand 15 minutes.  Combine remaining ingredients in large stainless steel saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and boil gently 15 minutes.  Drain the vegetables.  Add to pickling liquid.  Mix well.  Return mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Ladle into hot jars leaving ¾ inch headspace.  Wipe rim.  Place two piece metal snap lids (or Tattler reusable lids or glass inserts) on jars.  Apply screw band according to type of lid being used.  Process 10 minutes in BWB at altitudes up to 1,000 feet above sea level.  At higher altitudes refer to altitude adjustment chart on Canning FYI page.  Remove from canner.  If using Tattler reusable lids or glass inserts, immediately tighten bands.  Do not tighten bands if using metal snap lids.    Allow to cool 24 hours.  Remove bands and check for seal.  Wash jars and bands.  Bands can be stored separately or replaced loosely on jars as desired.

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