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Bread and Butter Pickles: A Sweet Change

When I think of pickles, my first thought is a dill pickle. But why? They aren’t even one of my favorites. Bread and butter pickles and half-sours are really what I enjoy with most foods. So, with all the cucumbers that my garden produced this year, I am trying my hand at making bread and butter pickles: a sweet change.

Still Love a Dill, But…

Don’t get me wrong, I love dill pickles on hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. In fact, I always ask for extra. But…after making a batch last year and not being thrilled with the results, I am making the sweet and tangy bread and butter pickle this year.

Why the Name Bread and Butter?

Why are these delicious pickles called Bread and Butter? Without going into too much history, here is what I’ve learned. Around the time of the Great Depression, a couple named Omar and Cora Fanning began cucumber farming. When they had trouble making ends meet, they began making pickles using a family recipe. They would barter with locals exchanging their pickles for necessities such as bread and butter [1]https://www.mashed.com/225224/how-bread-and-butter-pickles-got-their-name/.

The Handwritten Gift

If you have been reading along, you may recall the box of treasures that was sent to me last year from a dear friend. One of the gifts inside was a jar of bread and butter pickles he had made using his mother’s recipe. Lucky for me, he also included the recipe in his handwriting (something else I love…handwritten recipes).

bread and butter pickle recipe
Bread and Butter Pickles, Circa 1950

Circa 1950

Her name was Hilda Lee Patterson Winstead and she was the mother of Frank Winstead. Frank has been a part of my life since I can remember. He was the principal at the school where my mom worked in the 70’s and he’s still sharing parts of his life with me. The bread and butter recipe came from his mother and was titled Bread and Butter Pickles, Circa 1950. He even included the dates of her lifespan. I would expect nothing less from Frank!

Get Ready to Pickle

Bread and Butter Recipe

Bread and Butter Pickles, Circa 1950

These pickles are perfectly sweet and tangy. They pair nicely with sandwiches, burgers, and vegetables or dress up your charcuterie board with these unexpected treats! Once you have sealed the jars, you will have bread and butter pickles waiting on you all year.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time1 hr
Pickling and Chilling Cucumbers4 hrs
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bread and butter pickles
Servings: 8 pints
Author: Hilda Lee Patterson Winstead, 1950

Equipment

  • Canning jars and lids
  • Large pot for creating a water bath for your jars

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon pickling cucumbers sliced (about 20-24, 4" cucumbers)
  • 5-7 medium onions sliced, Vidalia or other sweet variety
  • 2 Red Peppers sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 cup Pickling Salt
  • Chopped Ice enough to cover the veggies

Vinegar and Spice Mixture

  • 5 cups Sugar
  • 4 cups White Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water filtered or spring water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Celery Seed
  • 2 tablespoons Mustard Seed

Instructions

4 Hours Before Canning

  • Place sliced cucumbers, onions, and peppers in a large pan or bowl and cover with 1/2 cup pickling salt and chopped ice for 4 hours. '
    Drain after 4 hours.
    cucumbers, onions, and peppers in ice bath

Get Ready to Can

  • Combine the sugar and spices.
    Sugar and spices in a blue bowl for making pickles
  • Mix vinegar, water, and sugar/spice mixture in a large pan. Add the cucumber mixture.
    cucumbers, onions, and peppers
  • Boil together for 3 minutes.
    Cooking pickling mixture
  • Begin filling your jars. Leave about 1/2 inch space on top.
    Filling glass jars with pickles
  • Top each jar with sterilized lids and rings. Tighten the rings before next step.
    placing lids on jars of pickles
  • To seal, place jars in a water bath:
    1/2 pint jars= 5 minutes in water bath
    Pint jars= 10 minutes in water bath
    Quart jars= 15 minutes in water bath
    (See notes below for details about a water bath)
    placing jars in a hot water bath
  • Carefully remove hot jars from the water bath and place on a towel to cool completely.
    bread and butter pickles

Notes

A few tips…
  • You will need about 20-24, 4″ pickling cucumbers to equal a pound. This will make approximately 16, 1/2 pints or 8 pints of pickles.
  • Be sure to use pickling salt and not regular salt to prevent your pickles from becoming cloudy.
  • Use filtered or spring water. Using faucet water may add unwanted chlorine or additives.
  • Before placing the flat lids on the jars, be sure to wipe the rims with a damp cloth. This will ensure a safe seal.
  • A water bath consists of warm, filled jars covered in water (just enough to cover). I place my jars in warm water. I do not recommend adding warm jars to cold water! Bring to a boil and let simmer for appropriate time.
 

I have only been canning for about 2 years. Trust me, it seems intimidating at first, but it is really an easy process once you find some basic equipment (nothing fancy needed). If you are curious, I hope you will give it a try. Once you get a taste for it, you just might want to start your own garden. Are you canning something unique? Please share your pictures and recipes!

A knife, fork and spoon for dining.

References

References
1 https://www.mashed.com/225224/how-bread-and-butter-pickles-got-their-name/

4 Comments

  • John Dodson
    August 3, 2021 at 9:33 am

    There’s nothing better than a side of bread & butter pickles with BBQ. Growing up, we always got the “thrift plate” at Melear’s BBQ in Fairburn, Ga. It was a special moment if in your side of pickles there was a piece of cauliflower. The combination and sweet flavor and texture was a one-of-a-kind experience. My grandma Rutledge would give me hers too!

    Reply
    • Kristy Dodson
      August 4, 2021 at 1:44 pm

      I haven’t seen bread and butter pickles with cauliflower added but this makes me want to throw in a few pieces next time. Great memories of your grandma!

      Reply
  • Jean Newton
    August 2, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    So proud of you for tackling these pickles which by the way are delicious! Next year maybe you will try your great grandmother Parker’s recipe! She always made some great pickles! Happy canning! ❤️

    Reply
    • Kristy Dodson
      August 4, 2021 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you- glad you are close by so that I can share them with you. Yes-I need that recipe for next year and for my collection. I know her pickles had to be delicious.

      Reply

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