When I was little (old enough to stay by myself), I’d sometimes hang out at my Dad’s house in the summers while he he went off to work. Lunchtime would roll around and I’d open his refrigerator to see what sorts of things a Dad keeps in there. Sweet pickles and American cheese were always to be found. Yes, I like all varieties of pickles, and (gasp!) I like American cheese too. I discovered the joy of eating them together. But before I gross you out too much, I must share with you my first experience with pickling: Bread and Butter Pickles
Although sweet pickles are my favorite, bread and butter pickles run a close second. Their sweet and tangy crunch are pretty irresistible.
Here’s how you make them: start with pickling cucumbers. They’re smaller than a salad cucumber. Your market should carry them, and this time of year you’ll find them at farmer’s markets too.
Slice them up. Good, thick slices that will still allow the pickle to yield a crunch when you bite into it.
If you have one of these fancy doo-dads, you can make fancy pickles with ridges.
The pickles get a good dose of Kosher salt, then they can sit in the fridge for an hour. Then those pickles get rinsed off in the sink. Just rinse all of that salt off really well so that salty flavor won’t follow the pickles into the pickling liquid.
Make the pickling liquid. Combine sugar…
…and turmeric. Bring that all to a boil.
Meanwhile, add some sliced sweet onion to your sliced cucumbers.
Pour the hot pickling liquid over the cucumbers and onion.
Let it sit there at room temperature for an hour or so.
Move those cucumbers and onions to the cutest jar you have, and refrigerate them for 24 hours. This is when the magic process of pickling is going to happen.
If you’re impatient like me, you won’t wait 24 hours. I tried mine after just a few hours and they tasted perfectly pickled to me. So sweet and crunchy and incredibly tangy. If you’re a pickle fan (and you should be), you probably will enjoy these. They are so simple to make, and how cool would it be to be able to share homemade pickles at a summer barbecue?! And I promise that you don’t have to eat them with American cheese (but you’re tempted to try it now, aren’t you?)
This recipe is my contribution to Food Network’s Summer Fest, a season-long garden celebration to help give you ideas for using up Summer’s best fruits and vegetables. What’s your favorite way to eat cucumbers? Do you have a tip for working with cucumbers that you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below, or join in the conversation on Twitter using the hash tag #cookingwith.
Bread and Butter Pickles
Yield: About 4 cups of pickles
Prep Time: 20 min + marinating time
Cook Time: 5 min
I could eat the whole jar... really.
5 1/2 cups (1 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1. Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill 1 1/2 hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl.
2. Combine sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
*Don't cut the cucumbers too terribly thin. You want them to have a little bit of crunch to them!
*You may find that your cucumbers are already ready to sample within just a few hours of marinating in the pickling liquid (rather than waiting an entire 24 hours!)Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/4 cup (drained)
Calories per serving: 18
Fat per serving: .1g
Saturated Fat per serving: 0g
Fiber per serving: .5g
Protein per serving: .4g
Cholesterol per serving: 0mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 4.4g
WW POINTS per serving:
Points Plus Program: 1 Old Points Program: 0
Source: RecipeGirl.com (adapted from Cooking Light's Cooking Through the Seasons)
And here are some more Summer Fest participants, sharing more recipes using cucumbers!
Pinch My Salt: Chilled Cucumber, Kefir and Avocado Soup
What’s Gaby Cooking: Cucumber-Basil Gimlet
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Radish-Cucumber Crostini
Big Girl Small Kitchen: Spicy Cucumber Salad with Shallot, Ginger and Mint
Grecian Kitchen: Summer Cucumber Salad
And Love It Too: Cucumber, Mint and Watermelon Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cucumbers Coolers with Agave Simple Syrup
Cooking With My Kid: Cucumber Limeade
Healthy Eats: Cool Cucumber Soup
CIA Dropout: Relishing Cucumbers
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Cucumber Cherry Salsa
Cooking With Elise: Green Tea Cucumber Pops
Glory Foods: Cucumber and Shrimp Boat
Virtually Vegan Mama: Fire-Roasted Tomato and Cucumber Gazpacho
FN Dish: Summer Fest: Cucumber Recipes
Food2: When Life Gives You Cucumbers, Make a Cucumber Cocktail
Cooking Channel: Cucumbers Stuffed with Crab-Mango Salad
Recipe Girl: Bread and Butter Pickles
Taste With the Eyes: Spicy Pickled Cucumbers with Wakame and Garlic Blossoms
Virtually Homemade: Cold Thai Cucumber-Mint Soup
Add a Pinch: Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
The Cultural Dish: Ahi Tuna with Cucumber Sauce and Salad
Daily*Dishin: Cool n’ Zesty Cukes: 7 Minute Summer in a Jar
Daydreamer Desserts: Cubanita Margarita
Purple Cook: Cucumber Gazpacho with Indian Flavored Shrimp Relish
Indian Simmer: Cucumber at its Best with Chaat Masala
Big Apple Nosh: Quick and Easy Homemade Pickles
Sweet Life Bake: Agua de Pepino
The Sensitive Epicure: Tzatziki with Grilled Gluten-Free Pitas and Fresh Cucumbers and Peppers
Zaika Zabardast: Cucumber Gazpacho
A Way to Garden: Cucumber-Growing Q&A and the Best Pickles
Cooking with Books: Summer Fest: Cucumbers