Bread and Butter Pickles

There’s something spiritual about the canning process. The age-old way of a woman providing for her family. Moving the rugs aside. Donning an apron. Washing glass jars in hot sudsy water. Heating up the canner–and the kitchen with all that steam rising. Rejoicing in an abundance of jars and rings that never need replaced if she’s careful. Knowing she can pronounce every ingredient going into these containers, and that the contents are organic, garden fresh and top treats for the tastebuds!

Don’t you just love pictures of pantries lined with quart and pint jars full of produce?

This weekend I had 8 lbs of fresh cucumbers and 4 lbs of yellow onions begging to be preserved. I obliged them with my favorite pickle recipe. Bread and Butters! Mmm. Sure to please my picky family–half of us prefer dill, half prefer sweet. This recipe is a good “in-between”.

Bread and Butter Pickles
(taken from Ball Blue Book of Preserving)

4 pounds 4 to 6 inch cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 pound onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 cups apple cider vinegar

1. Combine cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl, layering with salt.
2. Cover with ice cubes and let stand 1 1/2 hours.
3. Drain, rinse, drain again.
4. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil.
5. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil.
6. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
7. Remove air bubbles. Put on 2-piece lids.
8. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
9. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for flavors to develop.
* Makes about 7 pints

Now that school has started, time for canning will be at a premium. What have you all been enjoying about this time of year?