Thursday, 28 June 2012

Bread and Butter Pickles

I have been busy compiling a street party recipe book for our annual street party on 7 July.  Hence, very little sewing.  However, whenever small, knobbly cucumbers are available in the market, (not the English salad type), I take the time to make my mother's bread and butter pickles.  We all love them in our family and so do our friends.

This year I used 4 pounds of cucumbers (about 7 inches long) and 4 medium sized onions.  The quantities do not need to be exact, and in fact, my mother's old recipe refers to bushels and pecks.  I have no idea how to translate this into English measurements, so I usually use 4 - 6 pounds of cucumbers and 4 - 6 onions.  I make the same amount of brine, though, because once again, I have no idea how to reduce the amount proportionately.  This may sound haphazard, but it is a recipe handed down from my grandmother, who, I'm sure was not exact in her cooking either.  It always works.

How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles

4 - 6 pounds of small, knobbly cucumbers, thinly sliced.
4 - 6 medium sized onions, thinly sliced.
1/2 cup Kosher salt or sea salt.  (It must be large grained salt, otherwise, you will use too much.)
Put tomatoes and onions in a large container (not metal) and sprinkle with salt.  Leave to stand (lightly covered) for 4 hours or more.  (I leave mine overnight.)
Rinse and drain.
Taste to ensure they are not too salty.

Make the Brine by mixing:
4 cups (32 oz) Cider vinegar (My recipe just says vinegar, but Cider vinegar works best.)
1 cup water.
3 cups white sugar.
1 cup brown sugar.
2 generous Tablespoons of pickling spices. (You can buy these ready mixed at Staiinsburys in England.)  Otherwise, use 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon mixed spices, including the tiny bits of chilli.
Bring all this to a boil, then add tomatoes and onions.
Bring back to boil and cook about 5 minutes.
Pour into hot, *sterilised jars filling them as near the top as you dare.
Seal and leave for a few weeks before using  The flavours will be more developed.
These keep for years in the cupboard, but they will probably not last that long.

*Sterilising Jars:
Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water.  Rinse with boiling water from the kettle.
Put jars and lids in a low oven while making the pickles so they are hot and thoroughly dry.

Here I have served it with quiche and salad, but it is delicious with cold meats and as a toping for hamburgers.


  1. Wow! You're getting really good with that camera!

  2. I think Mr Whizz Kid would love these.

  3. A super reminder of days gone by. My Gran used to make these pickles and I too have tried. When I touch base will give them ago! Thanks for sharing!