When some people think of their grandmother's refrigerator crock pickles, these sweet, crunchy and tangy pickles are the ones that come to mind. The onions and sweet peppers give these Bread & Butter Pickle Slices a great depth of flavor. Really, these aren't just cucumber pickles...they're more like the most irresistible assortment of pickled mixed vegetables you've ever had.
Yummy on burgers & sandwiches, and lovely on a relish tray too.
Like most pickles, you might want to let these sit for a few weeks for the flavors to blend, but we've been known to eat them within hours of making them!
Makes 8 pints - use wide-mouth jars for easy packing.
- 3-4 dozen medium pickling cucumbers
- 4 medium white onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced in narrow strips
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced in narrow strips
- 1/2 cup pickling salt
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 cups white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar, or a combination)
- 5 cups white sugar
- 2 TBS mustard seed (yellow or brown, or a combination)
- 2 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp ground turmeric*
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 TBS pickling spices (in a muslin bag)
Note: Prepare canning jars before starting your preserving project.
1.) Wash cucumbers and slice thin. Combine cukes, onions, and peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the pickling salt, and mix all ingredients together with your hands.
2.) Add approximately one trayful of ice and mix the ice cubes in with the pickle mixture. Add another tray of ice over the top. Let sit for 3 hours, adding more ice as ice melts. This is an important step, so do not skip it!
3.) While the pickles are soaking in their ice water bath, make the sweet-syrupy brine mixture by combining vinegar, sugar and remaining spices in a very large stockpot or preserving kettle. Bring to simmer, heating and stirring only long enough to dissolve sugar, then drop muslin bag full of pickling spices into hot brine, remove pot from heat and set aside.
4.) After the 3 hour "ice & salt treatment", drain the vegetables and discard the salty water. Add the cuke-vegetable mixture to the brine in the large kettle, and bring to a boil. Once the entire mixture has come to a boil, stir to combine everything and the mixture is ready to ladle into jars. (You're not cooking the vegetables, just bringing the brine to a boil.)
5.) Before spooning the mixture into jars, sprinkle some of the coarsley chopped garlic into each jar. Then using a slotted spoon, and a wide-mouth funnel, spoon the cuke-vegetable mixture into jars and pack well. After ALL of jars have been packed, use a ladle and fill the jars with brine, leaving 1/2" of headspace.
IMPORTANT: Brine will be sticky and because of the turmeric, it might stain. Protect work surfaces if you are worried about staining.
6.) Using a chopstick or a plastic knife blade, remove any trapped air bubbles. Wipe rims, then place lids on jars. Screw bands onto jars until finger-tight and process for 10 minutes in Boiling Water Bath.
7.) After processing, set jars aside to cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seal, and it it's concave, store in a cool dark place for one year. If seals didn't take (or if they pop back up when you press down on them) just stick the jar in the fridge. The vinegar will keep them preserved as long as you keep them refrigerated.
*Sometimes using ground spices in brine can cause cloudiness. I haven't had issues with the ground turmeric in this recipe, but I still thought I should mention it.