How to Make bread and butter pickles - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
This month's notes: July 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples will start in late July. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors)) Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!
Making Homemade Natural Bread and Butter Pickles
Using the "Fresh-Pack, natural, homemade mix" method
Yield: 7 to 9 pint jars
Making and canning your own bread-and-butter pickles the old-fashioned way, with all natural ingredients has never been easier!! Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this! It's a great thing to do with your kids! Note: You can use these directions to make Squash bread-and-butter pickles. Just substitute slender (1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter) zucchini or yellow summer squash for the cucumbers, in the same amounts.
Ingredients and Equipment
Directions - How to Make Bread-and-Butter Pickles
Be sure to read all the directions first - there are a couple of options and variations at the end, if you want to make firmer pickles (it's a trade-off; it takes more work!)
Step 1 - Selecting the cucumbers
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality cucumbers!
At right is a of picture cucumbers from my garden - they are SO easy to grow. But be sure to grow the varieties that are labeled "pickling cucumbers" - they will be much more crisp!
The picture at right shows a good cucumber for pickling (bottom) and a bad one (top). The good one is dark green, firm, and not bloated. It has lots of warts!
The bad one is overripe, it has yellow or white areas in the skin, and the warts are almost all gone. If you cut it open, you will see developed seeds. You don't want seeds!
Overripe cucumbers make mushy pickles.
Step 2 - How many cucumbers?
It takes about 3 or 4 cucumbers to fill a pint jar. Each cucumber is about 4 - 5 inches long and you will cut off the ends so they will fit with ¼-inch to spare..
Step 3 - Get the jars and lids sanitizing
The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. I get that going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars. If you don't have a dishwasher, submerge the jars in a large pot (the canner itself) of water and bring it to a boil.
Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!
Get the canner heating up
Fill the canner about 1/2 full of water and start it heating (with the lid on).
Start the water for the lids
Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes. Note: everything gets sanitized in the water bath (step 7) anyway, so this just helps to ensure there is no spoilage later!)
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Step 4 -Wash and cut the vegetables!
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the cucumbers and onions in plain cold water.
You will need to cut a 1/16-inch slice off the blossom end of the cucumbers and discard, but you can leave the stem end and ¼-inch of the stem attached, or slice it off, as you prefer. Then cut the cukes into 3/16-inch slices, cross-wise.
Slice the onions thinly (1/8 inch or less)
Step 5 - Combine cucumbers and onions in a large bowl.
Add salt to the sliced cucumbers and thinly sliced onions. Cover with 2 inches crushed or cubed ice
Step 6 - Refrigerate
Refrigerate the cucumber/onion mix for 3 to 4 hours, adding more ice as needed. Then drain and rinse, discarding the liquid.
Step 7 - Combine the other ingredients in a separate pot and boil
Combine these ingredients in a large pot. and boil for 10 minutes. Be sure to use a NON-metal pot - or a coated metal (teflon, silverstone, enamel, etc.) without breaks in the coating. The metal reacts with the vinegar and makes the pickle solution turn cloudy.
- 2 tbsp mustard seed
- 1-1/2 tbsp celery seed
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 4 cups white vinegar (5 percent)
- 4 and 1/2 cups sugar (if you are diabetic, use Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda), or you can omit sugar altogether)
Note about Pickle Mixes
To interject a crass commercial here - hey, my wife says I've got to pay for the website somehow :) I have found the best (crispest, best tasting) pickles from a mix are with the "Mrs. Wages Polish Dill Refrigerator Pickle Mix" They REALLY are good AND you don't need a canner - you store them in your fridge right after making them. They're ready to eat in 24 hours! Our affiliate sells the mixes (and at really good prices, too)
Whether you want dills or sweet pickles; canning them or straight into the refrigerator; there is a mix for every taste and need here!Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet! Get everything you need to make pickles: mixes, salt, brine, etc. here!
Step 8 - Drain the cukes/onions and add to the hot liquid
Drain the cucumbers and onions. Add them to the hot mix from step 7and slowly reheat to boiling.
Step 9 - Fill the jars
Fill the jars with slices and cooking syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Step 10 - Process the sealed jars
Adjust lids and process according to one of the two methods below. The first method is easiest, but the second method yields firmer pickles:
a. Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Boil them for 10 minutes (or as directed by the instructions with your canner). Remember to adjust for altitudes (see below) and larger jars!
Table 1. Recommended process time for Bread-and-Butter Pickles in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack
0 - 1,000 ft
1,001 - 6,000 ft
Above 6,000 ft
Pints or Quarts
b. OR use this
low-temperature pasteurization treatment:.
The following treatment results in a better product texture but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage.
Place jars in a canner filled half way with warm (120º to 140ºF) water.
Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars.
Heat the water enough to maintain 180 to 185ºF water temperature for 30 minutes.
Check with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180ºF during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185ºF may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.
Step 11 - Done
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
When can you start eating the pickles? Well, it takes some time for the seasonings to be absorbed into the pickles. After processing and cooling, jars should be stored 4 to 5 weeks to develop ideal flavor. Ah... the wait...
Variation for firmer pickles:
(replace steps 4 to 8 above with these steps instead)
1. Wash cucumbers.
2. Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard. Cut into 3/16-inch slices.
3. Mix 1 cup pickling lime and 1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon water in a 2- to 3-gallon crock or enamelware container. Avoid inhaling lime dust while mixing the lime-water solution.
4. Soak cucumber slices in lime water for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. I keep them in the fridge during this time.
5. Remove from lime solution, rinse, and resoak 1 hour in fresh cold water.
6. Repeat the rinsing and soaking steps two more times. Handle carefully, as slices will be brittle.
7. Drain well.
Pickle Making Problems?
From left to right:
Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to
make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts
for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a
plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball
Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll
never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)!
There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see
more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Pickles - makes 12 pint jars, 16 oz each*
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2007||Source||Subtotal|
|Cucumbers||30-36 (about 3 or 4 per pint jar)||free from the garden, or $3.00 cents at a PYO||Pick your own||$3.00|
|Canning jars (pint size, wide mouth), includes lids and rings||12 jars||$8.00/dozen||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$5.00|
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Pickling salt||1¼ cups||$2.00||Safeway,
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Dill (fresh or seed)||7 heads||I grow it, otherwise, I'd use the seed from the grocery: $2.00||Safeway,
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Pickle spices||2 Tablespoons||$2.00 per package, sp about $0.50||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$0.50|
or about $1.50 per jar INCLUDING the jars - which you can reuse!
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning. For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings. Note that the Classico's manufacturer does not recommend reuse of their jars: see what they have to say on this page:
How to make other pickles - recipes and instructions:
- Refrigerator pickles (no canning required)
- Cucumber pickle relish
- Pickled beets
- Pickled green beans
- Pickled dilled okra
Can't find the equipment? We ship to all 50 states! Use our Feedback form!
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]