Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Icebox Bread and Butter Pickles

Easy, old fashioned icebox bread and butter pickles, can either be made to store in the refrigerator, or processed in a hot water bath for pantry storage.

Icebox Bread and Butter Pickles

Most of you know that I am pretty new to the world of canning, so I have to caveat the posts I decide to be brave enough to share, to say use at your own risk, consult a professional canning source for more detailed information on the canning process, standard disclaimers, disclosures, warnings, yada yada yada.

Personally, I rely for the most part on the old Ball Blue Book Guide for Preserving for my information anyway, which is exactly what this recipe is patterned after. You can usually find copies of the Ball book near the canning supplies in most stores, but there are a multitude of books and resources available across the net now that are especially helpful for beginners like me. It's also good to have a simple canning kit to get started.

I'm moving into water bath canning slowly, so while you'll see a smattering of what I consider the easier recipes that y'all have asked me to share, it will likely be some time before you see any semblance of the more sophisticated pressure canning recipes showing up here. Never say never though, right?

Bread and butter pickles are hands down my favorite pickle, so it's only natural they'd be on my early list, and this recipe is for a simple, small batch refrigerator pickle, making only 2 quarts or 4 pints of pickles, so it's a great place to start.

The pickles will keep awhile in the fridge - not that they actually last that long around here though, because before I know it, I've gone through a batch in no time. I am a notorious pickle snacker. That's why I don't bother to process them, unless I'm going to do twice the quantity of cucumbers, and I don't usually, since storage space is always an issue for me. I've included how to process them also though, if you prefer to go that route.

This recipe is the old school way, but truth is these days you can buy everything you need from Ball, including products they call pickle mix and pickle crisp, which eliminates the step for salting the cucumbers. I kinda like learning things the old fashioned way myself, and in fact, these pickles are so old school, that I think they still earn the right to be called "Icebox" Pickles, don't you? Here's how to make them.

You'll want the smaller cucumbers for these, like a Kirby, rather than the larger salad cucumbers, roughly 4 to 6 inches in size for a total of 2-1/2 pounds.

I use Morton canning and pickling salt that you can pick up at your local grocery store or stores like Walmart, which is where I got mine. It comes in a large box, but you can use the leftover salt just as you would any other salt, with the one caveat that you'll need to store it tightly sealed so it doesn't clump. This kind of salt is pure, having none of the additives that prevent it from clumping, and that can also affect the quality, taste and appearance of your pickles.

Oh and lookie there... there's one of my old vintage Pyrex bowls peeking out of the corner of the picture! I do have several pieces, but I don't really talk about them much because, to be honest, they aren't a collectible to me. Most of them have been with me since the 70s and most were wedding gifts. They are kitchen work-horses! I told the kids, when I pass on from this world, you better eBay my Pyrex (and Fire King)  because I will haunt you if you give it away to the thrift store!

You'll want to slice the cucumbers about 1/4 inch or so. If you have a crinkle cutter, this is a nice place to use it.

Take one large Vidalia onion and cut it into thin slices. Add to the bowl and toss to mix everything together.

Sprinkle half of the salt over the cucumbers, toss, sprinkle with the remaining salt and toss again.

Add crushed ice over the top of the cucumbers. I use my Ninja blender that Santa brought me last Christmas.

Be sure to cover the cucumbers completely with the crushed ice; set aside for about 1-1/2 hours.

Drain, dredge mixture completely in clean, cold water, drain, dredge again and rinse to remove most of the salt; set aside.

Add the vinegar and sugar to a large pot and bring to a boil; cook and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the pickling spices. Place cucumbers and onions into the pot, stir; bring up to a boil.

Ladle into sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator, or process with a water bath canner for pantry storage. Some sources I have seen say that sterilizing the jars is not necessary, but since I am only doing small batch canning and I already have the water bath going, I feel more comfortable sterilizing the jars.

Recipe: Icebox Bread and Butter Pickles

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive/Cook time: 1 hour 30 min | Yield: 4 Pints


For the Pickling Spice:
  • 1/2 tablespoon of whole mustard seed
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons whole allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns
  • 1 large bay leaf, crushed

For the Pickles:
  • 2-1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers (4 to 6 inch)
  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1 extra large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced (about a pound)
  • Crushed ice
  • 1-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar

For the pickling spices, combine ingredients and set aside. Slice cucumbers into 1/4 inch rounds into a large bowl. Add onions, toss, sprinkle with half of the salt, toss, sprinkle with remaining salt, toss. Cover completely with crushed ice; set aside for about 1-1/2 hours. Drain, dredge mixture completely in clean, cold water, drain, dredge again and rinse; set aside.

Add the vinegar and sugar to a large pot and bring to a boil; cook and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the pickling spices. Place cucumbers and onions into the pot, stir; bring up to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer cucumbers and onions evenly into sterilized 2 quart jars or 4 pint jars; pack tightly. Spoon the vinegar and pickling mixture evenly over the top of each jar. Let cool and refrigerate.

Makes about 4 pints

Important: As written, these are un-processed pickles and they must be stored in the refrigerator. Without processing these are not a shelf-stable item. Follow the instruction below for canning, or consult a professional canning resource. Use at your own risk.

To Process for Canning: Consult a professional canning resource for details on water bath canning. Sterilize jar and lids. Prepare a hot water bath. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add Pickle Crisp to each jar if desired. Remove air bubbles. Add lids and rings and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on July 11, 2012
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