A summer must-have. Well, maybe spring and fall should be included in that description. These aren’t just any pickles. They’re better than what you can buy at the local store. You know, the ones that are all jarred up for you. Hmmm …wonder how long they’ve been hangin’ out in that jar?
The key to success on this one is the availability of pickling cucumbers. They are sometimes referred to as Kirby Cukes. These short, versatile cucumbers are used for both slicing and pickling. They are small, with bumpy yellow or green skin. Actually, the skin is very thin and the seeds are inconspicuous. They are plentiful in the southern New Jersey area throughout the warm summer months. If you are totally yearning for these pickles in March, try substituting with the English burpless variety.
So, here’s the other thing. I totally recommend that you use a mandoline on this. The slices must be uniform at around 1/8th of an inch. Same goes for the sliced onion. If you don’t have a mandoline, maybe it’s time to add one to your collection of kitchen tools. No need for a fancy one. Oxo has a handheld version that will do the trick for around fifteen dollars. As always, please be careful …that blade is super sharp!
One more thought …when slicing the onion on the mandoline, leave a little “stem tail” on the one end of the peeled onion. That gives the food gripper (the piece that must be used to guide the food through the slicer) something substantial to grab hold of. And you’ll waste less of the onion that way.
The hands-on prep time required on this is minimal. You will need to plan ahead though. For maximum flavor development, the pickles should hang out in the fridge for at least 24 hours. After that, they are ready to enjoy and will be there for you to add to your burger or favorite sandwich for two weeks! Also try these as a snack with whole-grain mustard, sharp cheddar cheese and your favorite crackers.
This does make quite a large batch. My family thinks that’s a good thing. I divide the goods among several glass pint jars and share the wealth. If you plan to do the same, just make sure to save some for yourself!
bread & butter pickles
Adapted from Cooking Light
- 8 cups pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced at 1/8-inch (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 cup onion, thinly sliced at 1/8-inch (5 ounces)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
Combine sliced cucumbers and salt in a large bowl; cover and chill for 1 1/2 hours. Transfer cucumbers to a large colander; rinse under cold water and drain. Return cucumbers to the large bowl and add the sliced onions.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and onions. Gently mix and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.