Monday, June 4, 2012

recipe: homemade bread & butter pickles

Cricket loves him some homemade pickles. If they're on the menu somewhere, we order them. No questions asked.

I'd never tried making them before, but figured it'd be fun to try them to complement our smoked pulled pork this weekend. To be honest, the canning process intimidates me. As much as I love mason jars, the boiling, sterilizing, sealing, etc seems like a LOT of work. But this recipe isn't for canning. It's so good, these suckers won't last the week, much less until winter.

I found two versions of Hugh Acheson's bread and butter pickles, so this is an amended attempt at what I resolved to be the best combo of the two. For the most part, I followed this one found in Esquire magazine. I consulted Hugh's cookbook A New Turn in the South, which had a very similar recipe with slightly different ingredients & quantities.

2 cucumbers (regular sized, or 10-12 pickling cukes)
1/2 vidalia onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup kosher salt
celery bunch (you just need the leaves, use the stalks for something else yummy)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 & 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
8 allspice berries
1 & 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup amber maple syrup
1/2 cup water

Wash the cukes well, scrubbing to remove any dirt. Slice into 1/3-inch rounds.
Combine cucumber slices with sliced onion in bowl with 1/4 cup kosher salt in a medium non-reactive bowl. Don't use table salt--is has different additives in it. Cover the bowl with a thin tea towel (not terrycloth), and cover towel with about an inch of ice. Place in fridge for 4 hours.

Rinse cucumber-onion mixture with cold water in a colander to remove any salt. Tear celery leaves into 1/4-inch pieces and toss with cucumber mixture. Set aside in medium non-reactive bowl.

In a medium non-reactive pot, combine remaining salt and remaining ingredients. Stir. Bring to a rapid boil. Pack cucumber mixture tightly into jars and pour boiling liquid to cover. Leave on counter, uncovered, for 2 hours, then refrigerate.
[homemade bread and butter pickles]

Once at refrigerator temperature, done.

These will be at their best in a day or so and should keep up to 10 days...if you wait that long.

(if you prefer to can them for longer keeping, refer to your canning manufacturer's instructions.)

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: if you plan to eat immediately, cut back on the fennel. Otherwise the extra licorice flavor may be overwhelming in your pickles. After a week or so, the fennel mellows out and adds a nice layer of flavor. Enjoy!