A mini tutorial for anyone who wants to make the best, best, best, Bread & Butter Pickles! The recipe came from my Aunty Bonnie and she's tweaked it over the years to perfection :) She's not exact with her measurements (must run in the family) so a little extra of this, or not enough of that, is okay.
Step 1: Cucumbers
Slice up four quarts of medium cucumbers. Not too thin, about a quarter inch thickness. I've sliced them too thin and, although they were good, they stay much crispier when thickly sliced. I've also used really large cucumbers, seeded, sliced, and cut into fours for "end of the season" pickles.
Tip: If you have a meat slicer it works great for slicing the cucumbers, onions, peppers, and even the garlic. A food processor slices the cukes too thin.
Step 2: Onions
Slice 6 medium white onions. I like them a bit thinner than the cukes.
Step 3: Peppers, Garlic, and Ice
The recipe calls for 2 green peppers but I wanted to "dress" up my jars, so I used red peppers. I then chop up 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. Layer the whole works into a tub and spread ice cubes throughout along with 1/3 cup of course salt. I diced up my peppers but you can cut them into strips, chunks, or however you like them. Let this sit for 3 hours on your counter.
Step 4: Pickle Juice
While everything is nicely crisping get a large pot and add:
4 cups of sugar
3 cups of cider vinegar (don't use regular vinegar)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
Mix all together.
Step 5: Jars & Lids
Grab your jars, wash 'em, sterilize 'em, and they're ready. I used 3 old pickle jars and three new pint jars. I boil the pickle lids in a pot and after shutting off the gas throw in the pint jar lids. I let them sit for about ten minutes. Time this just before the three hours are up for your cucumbers.
Step 6: Draining
After the three hours are up, drain your cucumbers into a large colander. Pick out the ice but do not rinse.
Step 7: Heat Them Up
Add the whole thing into the pot with pickle juice and heat to just boiling. Things will be really hot! You don't want to cook the mixture but you do want it HOT. You might have to keep turning your stove up and down.
Step 8: Pack Them in the Jars
Ladle the hot cucumbers into your hot jar, wipe rim, and place hot lid on, tighten well. Immediately flip the jar upside down and place on a towel. Do one jar at a time, and then move on to the next one.
Tip: I wear rubber gloves so my hands don't get burned from the hot jars.
Step 9: Let 'em Sit
Leave for 24 hours, check seals, wash jars, stock your pantry :) These pickles can be eaten immediately or left to sit for a bit, they stay crunchy and crisp!