Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles

I haven’t been to the Farmer’s Market in a few weeks.  And, I was extremely surprised (but very happy) to see lots and lots of Kirby cucumbers. Yes, the best cucumbers for making pickles of any flavor.

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To make these pickles, you will need:

4 pounds small Kirby cucumbers, or smallish crisp regular cucumbers
1 pound fresh carrots, peeled and cut into coins
2 medium yellow onions
1/4 cup pickling salt or Kosher salt

3 cups white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
12 juniper berries (2 per jar)
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric

*Wash and trim the ends of the cucumbers and cut into 1/4-inch slices. A little thicker is better than too thin. Wash, peel and slice the carrots into 1/4-inch coins. Slice the two onions into slivers. Place all the vegetables into a large nonreactive bowl, and toss all the vegetables well with the salt. Top with 2 to 3 cups of ice, and let sit for 2 to 3 hours.

Prepare 6 pint jars by sterilizing using your preferred method. I like to wash them well, and bake them in a 250 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Place them in a baking dish to keep them together.

Prepare the pickling liquid by combining the vinegar, sugar and all of the spices in a 6-quart nonreactive pot. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Bring to boil. This can sit, cooled, until the vegetables are ready. Return to a boil before adding the vegetables.

After the 2 to 3 hour salt soak, rinse the vegetables well and drain. Repeat this a few times, and let drain for a minute. Transfer the vegetables to the boiling pickling liquid. Bring it back to a boil, gently stirring the vegetables to keep them in the liquid. The vegetables will reduce a little in just a few minutes, and the liquid will increase slightly. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn the burner off.

Transfer the pickles to the jars using a canning funnel. Distribute them evenly, and fill with the pickling liquid. Leave a half-inch headspace in each jar.

Use a damp paper towel to clean the rims of the jars, and place the clean lids on top. Place the rings on, and tighten until just tight.

Process for 20 minutes in a waterbath. Remember, the time starts when the water returns to a boil. Using the jar-grabbers, remove the jars from the waterbath and let cool on a towel. Leave undisturbed for 24 hours.

If you have extra pickles that didn’t fit or the jar didn’t seal properly, these taste delicious immediately.

Well, we thought so!

Note: How many Kirby cucumbers will you need? I purchased 16 cucumbers, as they were 4 for $1.00; this was about 3.8 pounds, just under 4 pounds. I also picked the smallest cucumbers they had, so, I’d think that 18 to 20 cucumbers should provide close to the 4 pounds needed.

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