State Fair Blue Ribbon Bread and Butter Pickles
Several years ago I had a bumper crop of cucumbers. I decided I needed to find a pickle recipe I liked since Mom’s didn’t really bring back images of pickle love. I started Googling recipes that had won at a state fair. If I am going to spend the time, money, and effort to make something, I want to make sure I have the best recipe and ingredients. I and found it — Linda Cifuentes’ Blue Ribbon Bread and Butter Pickles on the Mrs. Wages website. Ding, Ding, Ding…we have a winner! I knew this recipe was going to be the one when I spilled some of the pickle syrup on the counter and my hand — it wasn’t hot and I absentmindedly licked it off my fingers…It was magic and I found myself thinking – will anyone see me lick it off the counter — it simply can’t be wasted!
Since I didn’t like pickles growing up, I didn’t learn how to make pickles from my mom – so here are some tips that I’ve found in my research that seem to really make a difference in the quality of the end product!
Enjoy and add a little summer to your winter with this pickle!
Tips for Great, Crisp Pickles
- Use your cucumbers as soon as possible, whether picked fresh or purchased from a farmer’s market or the store
- Only use canning/pickling salt, it does not contain anti-caking ingredients that can make your pickles cloudy, or iodine, which can make your pickles dark.
- Slice cucumbers as uniformly as possible.
- Add the pickling salt and ice to cover slices and let sit for about 3 hours. None of the church cookbooks or my mom’s recipes includes this step — I’m convinced it is why the pickles are so crisp.
- 6 pounds of pickling cucumbers
- 1 pound of onions (1½ cups sliced)
- 2 large, peeled garlic cloves
- ⅓ cup pickling (canning) salt
- 2 trays of ice cubes
- 4 to 4½ cups sugar (I only use 4 cups)
- 1½ tsp turmeric
- 1½ tsp celery seed
- 2 TBS mustard seed
- 3 cups cider vinegar
- Wash and slice cucumbers, peel and slice onions -- combine in a large non-metal bowl
- Add garlic cloves, canning salt, and mix
- Cover with ice cubes and let stand 2 to 3 hours
- Remove garlic, rinse well and drain
- In a large pot combine sugar, turmeric, celery seed, mustard seed, and vinegar
- Stir and add drained cucumbers and onions
- Heat for 5 minutes
- To can, pack hot pickles in hot sterilized jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust jar lids. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes for pints or quarts.
- **Alternate Instructions for refrigerator pickles
- In a large saucepan mix the sugar, vinegar, turmeric, celery seed, and mustard seed. Bring pickling liquid to a boil, making sure the sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Layer sliced cucumbers and onions in an alternating pattern in your canning jar til the top. Ladle in the pickling liquid til the cucumbers and onions are covered. Wipe the rim of your jar, place the lid on top, and secure it with a metal screw band. Pickles will be ready to eat after a week. Store pickles in a refrigerator for up to 1 year.