August 8, 2008

Bread 'N Butter Pickles

Mission accomplished - yeah! The pickles are done. Bread and butter pickles are our favorite of all pickles, and homemade are so different from the ones you buy. My grandmother was famous for her bread and butter pickles so they have a nostalgic value for me too. My recipe comes from the Ball canning book which is sold in most places that sell canning supplies. It's a standard and very useful. Starting last year I made one change which was to slice the cucumbers and onions on a mandoline, making them very thin of course. We all really liked them that way. I love to make these pickles but I'm honestly intimidated by the whole process of canning even after all the times I've done it. I would be devastated if I ever caused anyone to get sick from something I canned, so I'm even more particular than usual when I can anything. And don't let anyone tell you that it's not a tedious process - it is. But it's also well worth it when you can make something your family loves.

Here are some of our onions and shallots. This was our first time growing shallots and it was a good success. DH is researching various ways to store them. I'm just using them up in the meantime! I decided to experiment a little bit and use half onions and half shallots in the pickles. Shallots are so high priced in a grocery store that I would probably never have done this had I not had them available in the garden, and the result was really nice. It gives a mild garlic kind of taste to the pickles.

Here are the cucumbers and onions in the "layer with salt, cover with ice, and let them sit for 1.5 hours" step.

Everything in the pot - my new canner with the lifting rack that I've never had before, and it made a nice difference. For one thing it solved the problem of how to keep the jars hot before they're filled. I just kept the rack lifted up over the boiling water and kept the empty jars on the rack until the pickles were hot and ready to go in the jars. Much easier than other things I've tried.

The finished product, with our pond in the background, gives me a good summer feeling in spite of the weird month we've had! Updates on us - DH is healing very well and can drive again as of this morning. And, today was DD's last day of work at the camp and she was over the moon to be picked up in the "new" car we got for her today!

We are blessed again and again.

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