No one seems to know for sure why these are called bread and butter pickles. We do know, though, that the first commercial variety of bread and butter pickles appeared in the early 1920s in Illinois.
To turn Bread and Butter pickles into Yum Yum pickles, in theory you just double the sweetener. But, this USDA recipe already calls for double the sweetness that everyone else’s Bread and Butter Pickle recipe does, so these may already be Yum Yums in all but name. You may want to try one batch first before adding a bit more sweetener the next time. You could also cut the sweetener in half for a more tart pickle.
This recipe makes a lot, so you may want to cut it in half.
See also: Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles
If you wish to adjust batch size, do the math first on paper.
Jar size choices: Half-litre (1 US pint / 500 ml/ 16 oz) OR 1 litre (US quart / 32 oz)
Processing method: Either water-bath or steam canning
Yield: 8 x half-litre (US pint) jars
Headspace: 2 cm (½ inch)
Processing time: 10 minutes either size jar
Bread and butter pickles
A delicious USDA-tested recipe for sweet, home-canned bread and butter pickles.
- 3 kg of pickling cucumbers (6 ½ lbs)
- 1 kg onion (2 ½ lbs)
- 175 g pickling salt (½ cup / 6 oz) OR 3 tablespoons salt sub
- Ice cubes
- 1.5 litres white vinegar , 5% acidity or higher. (6 cups / 48 oz)
- 1 kg white sugar (4 ½ cups / 36 oz) OR 4 teaspoons liquid stevia
- 2 tablespoons mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons celery seed
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- Pickle Crisp
Get a very large bowl (or pot).
Wash cucumbers well. Trim a sliver off both ends of the cucumbers, then cut width-wise into 5 mm (¼ inch) round slices. Put in bowl.
Peel onion, slice thinly. Add to bowl.
Sprinkle with salt OR salt sub, toss gently with hands.
Add a half dozen ice cubes, toss again, then put a layer of ice cubes or crushed ice on top.
Refrigerate (if possible) for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
In a very large pot, mix together the ingredients from the vinegar down to and including the turmeric.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer covered for 10 minutes.
Drain the cucumber well (including any stray hidden ice cube pieces in it), then add to the vinegar mixture.
Increase heat on the pot a bit and let the mixture just come to a boil again.
Using a slotted spoon, pack cucumber and onion slices into half-litre (US pint) or 1 litre (US quart) jars, leaving 2 cm (½ inch) headspace regardless of jar size.
Add ⅛th teaspoon Pickle Crisp per jar. (optional; double for litre/quart jars)
Divvy out vinegar liquid amongst jars, leaving 2 cm (½ inch) headspace.
Debubble, adjust headspace.
Put lids on.
Process in a water bath or steam canner.
Process either size jar for 10 minutes; increase time as needed for your altitude.
Best after at least a few weeks of jar time.
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
For salt substitute, a non-bitter, non-clouding one such as Herbamare Sodium-Free was used.
For stevia, Better Stevia liquid stevia was the stevia used.
More information about Sugar and Salt-Free Canning in general.
Australia and New Zealand vinegar strength special notes.
If you have a crinkle cutter or a mandoline, now’s a great time to use it to produce some nice crinkle cut slices.
Be prepared with extra vinegar on hand. This recipe can vary wildly in when it requires more pickling liquid, including factors such as thickness and diameter of slices, size of jars used, how tightly packed, etc. Sometimes double the volume of pickling liquid has been required. Just top up the jars with pure vinegar brought to a boil quickly in the microwave; mind the surge when removing from microwave.
Optional additional flavouring to add to the pickling mixture: 1 teaspoon ground coriander, pinch of cloves (suggestions as per Canadian Living Complete Preserving Book, 2012, page 123).
The Pickle Crisp idea comes from the Jarden companies. The Ball Blue Book (37th edition, 2014, page 78) suggests ⅛th teaspoon per ½ litre (US pint) jar; the Ball / Bernardin Complete (2105, page 293) suggests ¾ teaspoon per ½ litre (US pint) jar.
Bread-and-butter-pickles. In: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Page 6-9.
- Swapped out 250 g of onion and replaced with an equal weight (250 g / ½ lb) of cucumber, to give more actual pickle;
- Increased celery seed by ½ tablespoon;
- Increased vinegar by 50% as recipe repeatedly didn’t provide enough pickling liquid.
Other bread and butter recipes consulted but not used:
- Bread and Butter Pickles. In: Ball Blue Book. Muncie, Indiana: Healthmark LLC / Jarden Home Brands. Edition 37. 2014. Page 78.
- Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles. In: Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013. Page 69.
- Traditional Bread and Butter Pickles. In: Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Ball / Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto: Robert Rose. 2015. Page 393.
- Bread and Butter Pickles. In: Canadian Living Test Kitchen. The Complete Preserving Book. Montreal, Canada: Transcontinental Books. 2012. Page 123.
The Ball / Bernardin Complete (page 393) allows for the following flavouring variations, that you may wish to try sometime:
- cider vinegar instead of white vinegar in the pickling mixture;
- adding 2 tablespoons of prepared horseradish and / or 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger to the pickling mixture;
- 1 clove garlic in each jar.
Another safe recipe from the USDA, with a pH coming in at 3.64, well below the 4.6 cut-off.
Per 1 slice (5 g / .18 oz)
- 6 calories, 16 mg sodium
Sugar and salt-free version
Per 1 slice (5 g / .18 oz)
- 2 calories and 0 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 1 to 9 slices: 0 points; 10 to 27 slices: 1 point
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.
* Better Stevia ® is a registered trademark of the NOW Foods Company.
* Herbamare ® is a registered trademark of the A. Vogel Corporation.
* Pickle Crisp ® is a registered trademark of the Jarden Corporation.