This time of year, when everything is in season, you will find me at the farmers market wringing my hands and looking a bit frantic—so many veggies and so little time. Soon after, I will begin talking out loud to myself. Naturally. How else does one make plans and set priorities? “Mid-September. Okay, pickling cucumbers are on the way out, and I still have about a month before the first frost takes the tomatoes and even longer for the peppers, soooooo cucumbers it is…”
…which means pickles.” I did the full ferment kosher sours long ago at the start of the season. If you read this blog or know me even a little, you know that I am passionate about pickles and pickling. If you didn’t know, well, let me tell you that I’m kind of a big dill in the world of pickling. Get it, kind of a “big dill.” I even have a T-shirt that says so.
My tastes run toward salty, savory, garlicky, or hot when it comes to pickles. However, another camp of pickle connoisseurs stand firmly in allegiance with the sweet pickle. I don’t share that opinion, but a sweet pickle, I admit, does have its place on the plate. Tart, tangy, and sweet, a tuna fish or pulled pork sandwich wouldn’t be the same without an old-fashion bread & butter pickle on top.
While I’m not a sweet pickle fan per se, this is no second-class bread & butter. I’ve taste-tested it on bread & butter fans and have received rave reviews. The simplicity of the recipe with its consistent, flavorful, and crunchy results has led me to make this year after year. Moreover, it takes just minutes of prep time and freezing allows me to store it in small and extra-small portion sizes.
- 1 ½ lbs. pickling cucumbers (5 cups sliced)
- 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced (1 ½ cups)
- 2 T pickling salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ t turmeric
- ½ t paprika
- 1 T whole mustard seeds
- Wash and thinly slice the cucumbers removing the blossom end—do not peel.
- Combine cucumbers, onions, and salt in a large glass bowl and let stand for 2-4 hours.
- Meanwhile, combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices and allow the sugar to dissolve completely.
- Rinse and drain the vegetables well, drying and blotting them on a clean tea towel.
- Combine all ingredients and place in individual freezer containers leaving an inch of head space for expansion.
- To use, thaw for 4 hours in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.
Cooking with Kids: Let the kids slice the cucumbers while you slice the onions. Use a steak knife if they are under 11. They should still use safe knife skills especially tucking their fingers in on the hand that holds the cucumber. Kids are also able to measure the salt, sugar, vinegar, and spices. (It’s not canning so you don’t have to get too panicked about precise measurements.) Lastly, my kids really like to mix so let them toss the cukes with salt using their clean hands or mix the sugar into the vinegar.