I love pickling. I love the process, seeing all those jars laid out on a counter when I’m done, I love relaxing afterward and hearing the ‘ping’ of a successfully canned jar. I have a spicy pickle recipe that I adore, I frequently make pickled green beans and carrots, and I’m even planning on pickling some garlic soon. My favorite use of pickles, though, is on sandwiches. A good homemade pickle on a ham and cheese sandwich elevates it from merely good to amazing. These are an excellent sandwich pickle, flavorful and slightly sweet and salty, but not too sweet. Wow, I’ve made myself hungry. I want a ham and cheese sandwich with these pickles now…
Start off by slicing your cucumbers and onions. I’ve found that a 7mm cut on a food processor or mandoline is perfect for my taste on the cucumbers, and the onions should be extremely thin, around 1.5mm.
Mix the onion and cucumbers in layers and salt as you go. This is a key step, because salting the cucumbers at this stage draws out excess water and makes for wonderfully crisp pickles. You probably won’t need as large of a container as I used… I was making a double batch, so I needed a larger than usual container.
Let the cucumbers and onions sit for an hour and a half, then drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, ground mustard, tumeric, ginger, and peppercorns in a large stockpot. Bring it all to a steady boil, add the drained vegetables, and return to a boil.
As soon as you reach a boil, turn off the heat. Pack the hot pickles and brine into warm, clean jars. Be sure to cover the vegetables with the pickling liquid, and leave 1/2 inch of headspace in each jar.
Screw on the lids (fingertip-tight, which is as tight as you can get it by hand without adding extra force, which may cause the lid to buckle during processing), and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Let the jars sit for a week to develop flavor before opening, if you can wait that long.
Bread and Butter Pickles
- 12 lbs pickling cucumbers 1/4 bushel, 3 – 4 inches in length
- 5 lbs white sweet onions
- 360 g salt
- 6 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 litres apple cider vinegar
- 2 TB brown mustard seed
- 1 TB ground mustard
- 2 TB turmeric
- 1 TB ground ginger
- 1 TB black peppercorns
Using a food processor, mandoline, or knife, slice cucumbers to 7mm width slices and onions to 1.5mm pieces. If using a mandoline, feel free to use the ridge-cut blade for a wavy pickle.
In a large bowl or stockpot, layer the cucumbers and onions with salt, mix well, and let sit an hour and a half.
Drain vegetables, rinse thoroughly with cold water, and drain again.
Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, ground mustard, tumeric, ginger, and peppercorns in your largest stockpot. Bring to a steady boil, add vegetables, and return to a boil.
As soon as you reach a boil, turn off the heat. Pack the hot vegetables and brine into warm, clean jars, making sure the vegetables are covered by the brine and leaving 1/2 inch (1 cm) headspace.
Screw on lids fingertip-tight and process in a boiling water bath, pint jars for 10 minutes and quart jars for 15.