Bread and Butter Pickles

We made these Bread and Butter Pickles about 6 weeks ago during a pickling marathon. Seriously we left the large water-fllled canning pot on the stove for about a week and just kept at it. Some were specific recipes like this, and some of the jars we just filled and made it up as we went along. Hopefully this is my last cucumber post for a while, but they are still growing in our garden so who knows. There is something satisfying about canning your own food. My grandmother would sometimes make jams but other than that there has been very little pickling going on in my life other than the quick pickles over the summer. Now that we have the proper equipment I plan to try some new recipes. I came across this article about mason jars which was kind of interesting, the history and usage, and how people are using them for all sorts of things, like glassware as I'm sure you've seen. A while back I was having dinner here in Portland, and they served wine in mason jars and that to me seemed wrong. I just couldn't embrace that much irony.

On a photography note I recently made the switch from Aperture to Lightroom. I’ve been a happy user of Aperture for many years, but since Apple is no longer continuing the software it was just a matter of time for me to start using Lightroom. There are things about each app that are good and bad. The beauty of Aperture is in its simplicity. The user interface is very well thought out and every pixel space is maximized so you can view your image quite large and still have all the editing tools, metadata and file management neatly organized on one side. While all the post processing tools are pretty much exactly the same as Lightroom, 3rd-party plug-ins are generally designed for Lightroom, so I haven’t been able to explore those. Now Lightroom on the other hand has some really nice features and presets, but the user interface feels bulky and bloated, if I use it with my external monitor it’s not so noticeable, but on a 15” Macbook Pro you have about 1/3 of the screen dedicated to the image area, it’s completely surrounded by these modules, which you can open and close for more photo space, but having used Aperture for so long I feel like I’m constantly clicking and navigating around these modules. I know it’s just a matter of getting used to it and setting up a new work flow, but I feel Adobe could learn something from the clean interface design that made Aperture so wonderful. But that probably won’t happen. As far as file management goes, I never lost an image with Aperture. Now granted I just started using Lightroom, but first day as I was organizing and moving photos and folders, within Lightroom as that’s what’s recommended, I lost a bunch of photos, and a newly created folder I had just made within the app simply disappeared. It was not a big deal as I had backups of everything, but I was kind of shocked at that happening. So I’m very careful with Lightroom and making sure that I have backups! Well I know that has nothing to do with pickling but wanted to share my experience with Lightroom. I feel a bit sad to see Aperture go because it was a very nice app for organizing and post-processing digital photography, but it was time to move on.

Bread and Butter Pickles

  • 16 cups sliced small or medium pickling cucumbers
  • 8 medium onions sliced
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • crushed ice
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

In a 6 to 8-quart stainless steel pot combine cucumbers, onions, pickling salt and garlic. Add 2 inches of crushed ice. Cover with lid and chill for 3 to 12 hours. (this will help keep the pickles crisp!)

Remove any unmelted ice from pot. Transfer cucumber mixture to a large colander and drain. Remove and discard garlic pieces.

In the same pot combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and turmeric. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in cucumbers. Return to a boil then remove from heat.

Pack hot cucumber mixture and liquid into hot sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a 1/2” headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids and screw bands.

Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when the water returns to a boil). Remove jars from canner and allow to cool on wire racks. Makes 7 pints.

Adapted from Better Homes and Garden Canning Magazine