Pickles are a must for summer picnics or alfresco lunches. This classic recipe from Canal House Cooking combines sliced cucumbers with whole and ground spices for a delicious snack or sandwich topping. They’re best after they’ve had time to develop their complex sweet flavor, so allow at least 2 weeks before serving them (these are well worth the wait). Keep them in the refrigerator once you’ve opened the jar.
Bread & Butter Pickles
4 lb. Kirby cucumbers
1/2 cup kosher salt
Ice cubes as needed
3 cups sugar
2 Tbs. mustard seeds
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
3 cups apple cider vinegar
Wash and trim the ends off the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and put them in a large bowl. Add the salt and toss to coat, then cover the cucumbers with ice cubes. Let the cucumbers rest for 1 1/2 hours. They will release their water and soften a bit. Drain them, then rinse and drain again.
Put the sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds, peppercorns and vinegar in a large, heavy pot, set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Meanwhile, wash 4 to 6 widemouthed pint canning jars with their lids and rings in hot soapy water and rinse them, then place in a large pan or bowl and cover with boiling water. Keep them in the hot water until ready to use. Remove the jars from the water and pour out any water. Arrange the jars together for easy filling. At the same time, fill a large pot (large enough to hold the jars in a single layer) with warm water to a depth of 4 inches. A canning kettle with a rack is ideal.
Add the drained cucumbers to the pot with the pickling liquid and bring to a boil. Pack the hot cucumbers and hot liquid into the jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of headspace.
Using a paper towel dipped in hot water, wipe the rims clean. Place the lid on each jar, then screw on the rings. Arrange the jars in the water in the pot (the water should cover the jars by 2 inches) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 10 minutes.
Using tongs, remove the jars from the water and place on a tray lined with a kitchen towel. Let the jars cool undisturbed for 12 hours. If the jars have sealed properly, the lids will be slightly indented and not springy to the touch. If a jar did not seal properly, either repeat the water bath process or refrigerate and use the pickles. Makes 4 to 6 pints.