Bread and Butter Pickles


Kelly Rossiter Photo
Kelly Rossiter

I have always loved pickles, but I usually bypass the bread and butter pickles in favour of dills. That's because bread and butter pickles are usually quite sweet and I prefer my pickles sour. But looking through the The Art of Preserving, I found a recipe for bread and butter pickles that uses only a quarter cup of sugar, so that was the one for me.

I know it's getting a bit late in the season, but they still have little cucumbers at the farmers' market, so you should be able to make these. Bread and butter pickles take a bit more effort that regular dills, because there is a fair amount of chopping, but once that is done there isn't a lot of effort involved. I've pickled lots of cucumbers this summer, because I was really disappointed when they ran out last year. My pickles are really good this year and I think I'll have close to 20 jars to see me through to next season.


6 lbs Kirby cucumbers, cut into slices 1/4" thick
1 yellow onion, cut into slices 1/4" thick
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt
6 ice cubes
4 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
1/4 plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 cup diced pitted sour cherries
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


  1. In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the cucumber and onion slices. Add 1 tbsp of the salt and the ice cubes. Cover and refreigerate for 3-4 hours. Drain in a colander, rinse and then set aside to drain well.
  2. Have ready hot, sterlized jars and their lids.
  3. In a large reactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, cherries and remaining 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt. Add 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve salt.
  4. Meanwhile, place the cucumbers and onion in a large bowl. Add the mustard and celery seeds and the red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries from the brine, transer to the bowl,a nd stir to combine with the vegetables. Pack the cucumber mixture into the jars and tightly as possible. Fill the jars to within 1/2" of the rims.
  5. Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving 1/2" of headspace. Remove any airy bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims and clean and seal tightly with the lids.
  6. Process the jars for 7 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Let the jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours and then set them aside for 2 weeks for the flavours to develop. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

    Makes 6 one pint jars.

This recipe appears in: Snacks
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