Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

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Canning, jamming and pickling all seem very daunting to me. The harvesting, sterilizing and whatever other time-consuming and involved steps just seem like so much work. I could just as easily go to the Farmer’s Market or better yet, the grocery store and get something in a fraction of the time. But does it taste as good? Well, if it’s from the Farmer’s Market it probably does. But where’s the fun in that?

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One other reason I’ve shied away from preserving anything in a can is because I don’t want 50 jars in the freezer or to be that girl that gives everyone pickles. I’m already that girl that makes pickles. I’ve recently discovered though, you can make small batches of said delights!

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Quite a few years ago, my friend’s Baba made the most incredible pickles for a barbecue. It was my first glimpse into attainably homemade condiments. I knew they weren’t difficult or required a lot of ingredients, but it still took me this long to get around to it.

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I did get around to it, and am so glad for it. Pickles of any kind are great because they are that little bit of tang, zing and sweet crunch that almost every food will accept. Egg salad? Burgers? Cheese and crackers? Peanut butter sandwich? I’ve yet to try the last one, but you get the idea.

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Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 4 cups, filling a 1-quart jar

  • 1 pound cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick — “pickling” or kirby cucumbers work best here
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Diamond Kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red chill flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper corns
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (if ground, use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed (I actually used 1 tablespoon celery leaves which tasted great!)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture with ice. Let stand at room temperature for two hours.
  2. In a pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil.
  3. Drain cucumbers and onions. Add to vinegar mixture and bring almost back to a boil. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. You can store the pickles in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the fridge. They will begin tasting pickled in just a couple hours.
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