Ever thought about home-canning? Go for it! You’ll be surprised how easy it is. My recipe for Bread & Butter Pickles is a great place to start. All you need is a large pot and a few inexpensive canning jars. Stock up on those pickling cucumbers next time you visit the farmers’ market so you can enjoy these sweet and sour pickles all year long.
Guess what I got in my farm share over the last few weeks. Pickling cucumbers! Sweet, tart and salty – Bread & Butter Pickles are my favorite. I love them on burgers, of course, but I also like them on a grilled cheese sandwich or chopped up and mixed into tuna or egg salad. Left-over brine is a great base for salad dressing.
I’ve been home-canning for 30 years. When I first started making jams, jellies and pickles at home it was fairly difficult to find the proper accessories at the local market. I would find them in a back aisle for a week or two in the middle of the summer and that was it. In recent years, with the increased interest in farmers’ markets and seasonal eating, home-canning has become very popular. I see a large display of canning supplies front and center at my local market. I think it’s great that people have realized that home-canning is an easy and economical way to save the summer bounty to enjoy all year long.
If you’ve never done any home-canning, pickled vegetables are a great place to start. Bacteria is the biggest concern when home-canning. First, make sure to use fresh, clean produce with no bad spots. You must also use proper canning jars and lids which have been sterilized. Bread & Butter Pickles have a high sugar and vinegar content, which is great because bacteria does not like an acidic environment. As long as you use proper canning jars and you process the jars in a hot water bath to make sure they’re sealed, these pickles will keep for a year in the pantry. Visit the Ball Canning Website to review the basics of home-canning in a hot water bath.
For my Bread & Butter Pickles I use a mixture of 1/2 cucumbers and 1/2 onions and sweet peppers. You could make the same recipe using all cucumbers or any mix of the three vegetables.
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