For the last nine canning seasons (I can’t quite believe it’s been that long), I’ve been partnering with the folks at Ball Canning to share recipes, new products, and canning tips. So far this year, I’ve tackled a pantry makeover, shared my cheater shrub recipe, and made a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam.
This month, I’m sharing two recipes. First up is Bread & Butter Pickles made using Ball® Bread & Butter Pickle Mix. I’m doing more canning this season than I managed last year, but my time is still super limited. Because I have to squeeze all my food preservation endeavors into nap windows or late night kitchen sessions, I am taking short cuts wherever possible. The pickle mix is a very welcome helper this season.
As with any canning project, the first step is gather all your ingredients. For these pickles, you need 3 1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers (if you plan on making these as refrigerator pickles, you can use other varieties, but if you’re canning them, stick with a pickling variety like Kirby), 2 1/2 cups 5% acidity white vinegar, 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup Ball® Bread & Butter Pickle Mix.
The next step is to set up your canning pot. Place your jars in the pot and fill them with hot tap water. Run enough of that hot water in around the jars to mostly submerge them and if you have hard water, add a generous glug of white vinegar (it helps prevent mineral deposits from adhering to the jars). Put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Wash the lids and rings with warm, soapy water and arrange them on a kitchen towel in a single layer to dry.
Prepare the brine in a medium saucepan. Combine the vinegar, sugar, and pickle mix and stir well. Bring the mix to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure that the sugar is fully dissolved.
Wash your cucumbers well and cut them into half inch thick rounds. When all the cucumbers are prepared, and both the canning pot and brine pot are hot, it’s time to pack the jars.
Remove one jar from the canning pot. Then, working quickly, pack the cucumber slices into the jar, fill it with the hot brine to 1/2 inch headspace, and wiggle out the air bubbles (top with more brine if the level has dropped below 1/2 inch).
Wipe the rim, apply the lid and ring, and return the jar to the canner. Repeat the process with the remaining jars. Once all the jars are filled, process them in the boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid and let the jars stand in the hot water for an additional five minutes.
If you struggle to keep your pickles from floating, make sure to use regular mouth jars. Their shoulders help keep the pickle slices tucked firmly below the top of the brine. The quality of the finished pickle is work the minor frustrations of getting all those cucumber slices to lay neatly in the jars.
Once the jars have finished cooling in the water, remove them from the canning pot and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. These pickles like to have at least a month in the jar to allow the flavor to fully infuse before you open them up.
I had enough cucumbers to make three quart jars of pickles. One of the great things about using the Ball® Bread & Butter Pickle Mix is that you can make as big or as little a batch as you need. To get the recipe for Bread & Butter Pickles, click here. Make sure to visit Ball® Fresh Preserving for more seasonal recipes, as well as to find new promotional offers throughout the summer!