First a disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert on canning. As a matter of fact I have always avoided canning by freezing everything from my garden and even making freezer jam. But I do intend to learn enough to try making these. A company called Mt. Olive is now selling LC B&B pickles, but I love to make as many things as possible myself, so when the pickling cucumbers are available at the local farm stands, I'm still going to make them.
BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES
1 gallon medium sized cucumbers, 4 quarts
6 to 12 large peeled onions or about 3 cups small white ones (the amount you use depends on how much you like onions)
2 green or red peppers, seeds and membranes removed
Cut the unpared cucumbers and the peeled onions into the thinnest slices possible. Shred or chop the peppers. Place the vegetables in a bowl. Pour over them:
½ cup Pickling Salt
Place them in the refrigerator 12 hours, covered with a weighted lid. (It helps to put a plate on top of the veggies to keep them submerged.) Drain vegetables. Rinse in cold water and drain again thoroughly. A cloth bag similar to a jelly bag is frequently used to let all the moisture drip from them. Prepare the following syrup:
4 cups mild cider vinegar
artificial sweetener (Splenda would taste the best, IMHO) equivalent to 4 cups sugar (no wonder pickles have a surprising number of carbs)
1-1/2 tsp turmeric or allspice
2 T mustard seed
1-1/2 tsp celery seed
½ tsp ground cloves or 1-inch stick of cinnamon
Bring these ingredients just to the boiling point. Add vegetables gradually with very little stirring. Heat to the scalding point but do not let them boil. Pour the pickles into hot sterile pint jars. Seal and process in 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
4 quarts small green cucumbers
4 medium sized green peppers, seeds and membrane removed
4 medium sized onions
Place these ingredients for 12 hours in 10% brine (description follows recipe.)
Drain well. Bring just to the boiling point:
1 quart cider vinegar
artificial sweetener equivalent to 4-1/2 cups sugar
Place in a cheesecloth bag and add:
2-1/2 T whole mixed spices (that's all the recipe said; I think I'll check out the relish at the store to see what spices they use)
½ T celery seed
½ T mustard seed
Add the drained vegetables. Bring to the boiling point. Remove spices. Place the relish in hot sterile pint jars, seal, and process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Brine is a solution of salt and water – preferably soft water. Its purpose is to draw the natural sugars and moisture from foods and form lactic acids, which protect them against spoilage bacteria. A 10% brine, about the strongest used in food processing, is made by dissolving 1-1/2 cups salt in 1 gallon of water or allowing 6 tablespoons salt to a quart of water. But after brining, as more liquid continues to be drawn from fruits and vegetables, the brine may be weakened. Always allow about 2 gallons of 10/% brine plus enough food to fill a 4-gallon jar. A rule of thumb to test for 10% brine is that it will float a 2-ounce egg so the shell just breaks the surface of the liquid.