I love pickles (probably why I wrote, bread and butter recipe for pickles). Whatever type is available, crispy, crunchy, acidic, sweet, spicy, or sour, you’ll be sure to always see me with some on my plate. Pickles are the perfect accompaniment to any dish! They provide a contrast in flavor and texture and help brighten up heavier flavors. Not to mention they are great all by themselves.
In particular, I love bread and butter pickles. They bring back truly fond memories for me. Whether it be summer evenings grilling out with family and friends, or hectic school nights that found my dad and I stealing them right out of the jar for a pre0dinner stack, bread and butter pickles will always have a piece of my heart.
First up, the ingredients for this recipe. The list is pretty short, pickles are one of those things that are incredibly simple to make but also one of those things that no one takes the time to do. For any general picking brine (the liquid solution) you will need three things; salt, sugar, and vinegar. The salt plays an important roll in removing moisture from the cucumbers to make room for the vinegar to go in and do its work. The vinegar is what softens the cucumbers and creates that classic pickle texture, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Sugar helps to balance out the acidity of the vinegar and make the pickles an enjoyable eating experience. The ratio of sugar to vinegar helps determine the final flavor.
Specifically for bread and butter pickles, you are going to need a few extra flavorings. The classic flavorings are celery seed and mustard seed which play well with the sweeter brine used in this type of pickle. The other herb I will be adding is a bay leaf. It won’t impart much flavor but it will release tannins, a compound found in plants, which will help keep the pickles crunchy. Other recipes may call for calcium carbonate, a perfectly safe alternative, but we prefer the natural alternative. The last ingredient is a touch of turmeric. While this won’t noticeably effect the flavor it will help give the pickles their classic, yellow tinged appearance. In addition to these flavorings you could add any other vegetables you have on hand. Onions, bell peppers, cauliflower, and carrots all work well. However, for this recipe we will stick with the classic.
Once your ingredients are gathered, it’s time to slice your cucumbers. I had a mandolin so I used that to create super consistent slices. If you go this route keep an eye on your fingers so you don’t hurt yourself! If you don’t have a mandolin, this is a great time to practice your knife skills. Remember slow and steady wins the race. Be sure to remove both ends of the cucumbers and put these in the trash. Enzymes in the stem sides can cause your pickles to not be crunchy.
When it comes to what type of salt to use, you have a few choices. What you want to avoid is iodized salt or any other type containing anti caking additives. These will make your final brine cloudy and you will be unable to see your final product once it is in the jar! I used some pickling and canning salt but normal kosher salt would work just as well. The amount of salt in this step
will seem way to high but don’t worry. Most of it will be washed off and the cucumbers will absorb just enough to flavor themselves during this step.
After your cucumbers have rested in the salt for 3 hours, you are ready for the brining step. First, dump your cucumbers in a colander and rinse them thoroughly with cold water to remove the excess salt. Then pack the cucumbers into jars. I ended up doing 1 large jar and 1 small. Not to tightly but make sure each jar is filled to the top. Here I added two bay leafs to each large jar and one to each small jar. If you put them in the brine it is hard to ensure both jars get the same amount. Finally you are ready to make your brine.
To easily tell how much brine you need, take your cucumber filled jar and fill it to your desired level with cold water. Dump this water into a measuring cup and you will know exactly how much brine to make. This brine needs to be 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water, that is 75% vinegar and 25% water. Multiple your total volume by these percentages to get the needed volume of both liquids.
To make your brine, add the water and vinegar to a small saucepan. The amount of sugar needed is half the amount of liquid. Add this to the pan. Finally add your spices, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric, and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour the hot mixture into your cucumber filled jar and seal immediately. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for about an hour and then throw it in the fridge overnight. By next morning you will have delicious pickles that are ready to eat!
The next day go to your kitchen, pull out your pickles and wonder at your marvelous creation. Open up the jar, grab a fork, and treat yourself to a sweet, slightly sour, crunchy bread and butter pickle, yum! You’ll have to have a few more straight out the jar, but then it’s sandwich time. Find some bread and your toppings of choice and prepare to have your mind blown. Your favorite sandwich just got ten times better!
Hope you enjoy these bread and butter recipe for pickles as much as I did and now know that making pickles is a relatively simple affair that you can do at home. Be sure to experiment with other spices and throw in whatever vegetables you have in your fridge! Below you can find the exact measurements I used in this recipe, but using the method above for brine estimation you can easily increase the yield to as many jars of pickles as you desire.
bread and butter recipe for pickles Recipe –
Bread and Butter Pickles
A classic sweet pickle that goes perfect on any sandwich or just by itself.
- 2 hothouse/english cucumbers
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 1⁄8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3⁄8 cup water
- 3⁄4 cup white sugar
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1⁄4 teaspoon celery seed
- 3 bay leafs
Slice the cucumbers into 1⁄4 inch slices and place into a large bowl. Add salt to the cucumbers and mix to combine. Chill in fridge for 3 hours. After three hours, rinse cucumbers thoroughly under cold water. Pack cucumbers into a mason jars. In a small saucepan add vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seed, and turmeric. Bring to a simmer and stir constantly. Add two bay leafs to each large jar and one into each small jar of cucumbers. Pour hot liquid into the jars until all cucumbers are covered. Put lids on the jars and let sit at room temp for 1 hour. Place jars in the fridge overnight, at least 12 hours.