Not only did I make the best bread and butter pickles known to man, but I also successfully canned for the first time ever!
These pickles are also really pretty when canned. Spoiler alert – I plan to give these out as Christmas gifts. One of the great things about canning is that when properly prepared, the pickles, sauces, fruits, etc. are good for years!
I have to give credit where credit is due. This recipe came from a work colleague’s girlfriend, Ann. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I bought the jars with lids, pickling lime, pickling spice, and canning utensils (funnel, jar holder, etc.) from Walmart.
I think these pickles turned out so well because the cucumbers came fresh from the garden. Five pounds may seem like a lot, but my cucumber plant (and I only have the one!) has been producing like crazy. Seriously. I think I have cucumbers coming out of my ears over here! I used six cucumbers to make 9 jars worth of pickles.
I scrubbed the cucumbers to remove the spines prior to cutting them. After slicing the cucumbers to the shape/size of pickle that I wanted, I placed them into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. To the sliced cucumbers, I added 1/2 cup of pickling lime and coated the cucumber slices by flipping the bag over several times.
Once coated with pickling lime, the cucumbers were placed in a large bowl and covered with cold water. To keep the cucumbers from floating, I placed a lid on top of the cucumbers. This sits overnight. The pickling lime makes the cucumbers crispy to give the pickles a nice crunch.
The next morning, I prepared the jars for canning and made the pickling syrup. To sterilize jars, heat the oven to 225F and place the jars, lids, and screw tops on a cookie sheet (or two if needed). Make sure to spread everything out so that the heat can get around each of the items. Heat the jars, etc. for at least 10 min.
Rinse the cucumbers in cold water several times to remove excess pickling lime. During the 10 min heating time, I prepared the pickle syrup. Add 7 cups of granulated sugar to 5 cups of apple cider vinegar in a large pot. Add 1 oz (about half of the spice container) of pickling spice and stir. Heat and add the sliced cucumbers. Cook cucumbers until they turn clear.
Then, using the funnel scoop cooked cucumbers into each of the sterilized jars. At this point, try not get to too much of the syrup in with the cucumbers. I highly recommend the funnel – this ensures you do not scald yourself with hot cucumbers or hot syrup.
Boil the pickle syrup for 5 min. Remove from heat and add syrup to the jars containing the pickles. I filled the jars to the first line where the top screws. Be careful! The syrup is very hot. I ended up leaving the spices in with the pickles – I think it makes the jars look really pretty. But, you could remove the spices by using a strainer. Just be careful if you do this – the syrup is really hot. I cannot emphasize this enough!
Once filled, use the jar holder to keep the jar still while you place the lid and screw the top onto each jar. While the jars are dropping to room temperature, you will hear the jars popping as they seal. The pops were music to my ears. As long as the lids cannot be pressed down, you have successfully sealed the jars. And, voila! You are finished! Just wait until the jars reach room temperature before trying out the pickles. Delish.