22 Friday Aug 2014
Early on this spring I had deemed this the “Year of the Pickles.” I was going to concentrate on cucumbers in my garden rather than tomatoes. Tomatoes have been giving me a hard time lately with weather conditions and pests and cucumbers are so easy to grow. Plus, everyone in the house eats them so there are never too many. We also eat a lot of pickles in the house. Whether it be adorning a great sandwich or just a quick snack out of the fridge, we love pickles. You’ll often find three jars in my refrigerator, not even counting relish!
Finally, a use for my fruit punch bowl!
As with most things, I started to think about the cost and the health benefits of canning our own. Frankly, the cost isn’t too bad if you use coupons, but the health benefits are more than enough reason to start making your own if you can. We have enough pickles for the year and only planted three cucumber plants. We also have used plenty of cucumbers as a dinner side or to go with salads. The biggest major benefit is the sodium factor. Canning your own you can really adjust your sodium to your own liking. This recipe from Cooking Light is about half the sodium of store-bought. As always, you are also avoiding the preservatives and the best part, it’s fun to make them!
It’s really easy if you’ve canned before and if you haven’t you’ll get the knack quickly. It’s so much fun growing them, harvesting, slicing, and canning them.The two week wait was a little brutal since we were eager to taste them, but they were well worth the wait. My husband wasn’t too keen on pickling one evening after work, because I make him do the actual canning because I am a wimp and an accident waiting to happen, but when he took a bite he was glad we went through the process. Just opening the jar my mouth started watering.
Bread & Butter Pickles
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup pickling salt
- 1 1/2 cups thinly vertically sliced yellow onion
- 5 lbs pickling cucumbers (thin skinned), cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 4 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp celery seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
Combine water and salt in a large container and stir. Add onion and cucumber and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours. Drain brine and rinse with cold water.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add the cucumber mixture and bring to almost a boil. Using a slotted spoon, remove the hot cucumber mixture and divide into 6 (1-pint) hot, sterilized jars. Divide the hot vinegar mixture among the jars, filling to 1/2 inch from the top.
Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims. Cover with metal lids and screw on bands. Process in boiling-water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars from water bath. Cool completely, checking for a proper seal.
For best flavor, allow 2 weeks before eating. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Serves 24 ~ serving size about 1/3 cup
Per serving: 42 Calories, 0.1 g, 1 g Protein, 11 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fiber, 0 mg Cholesterol, 0 mg Iron, 194 mg Sodium, 17 mg Calcium
Source: Cooking Light August 2014, adapted from The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm