Making Pickles At Home

There are three things I no longer buy in the grocery store. One of them is bacon, which I cure and smoke myself. The other is jelly, which I don’t much eat but do give away to friends and neighbors. And my bread-and-butter pickles, which if you have not sampled you may still think kissing is the most sensual experience on earth.

I give pickles to nearly all of my friends, relatives and those who stop by my little two-acre place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Tangy, sweet-and-sour, crisp and perfect to add to a tomato sandwich, my pickles are a wonder of nature. Just braggin’, you know. Bless your heart.

So when my friend Tom Farmer showed up at my place today with a bushel basket full of pickling cukes from his garden, I hauled out the pickling spices, apple-cider vinegar and a ton of Ball jars to cut and can about 5 cases of pickles. Some of them were dills, which I don’t much eat but seem to be popular. Most were Bread-and-Butter.

As much as I appreciate the gift of the cucumbers, that’s not the point of my post. The point is that even if you don’t do home canning but want some great and simple pickles, here is the recipe:

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

Pickling cucumbers to fill a quart jar (Pickling cucumbers are different than the garden variety, but your
grocer can help you find them. They are smaller than the garden variety, and you will need 5 or 6 of them to
fill your quart jar.)
1 onion sliced
2 cups sugar ( I use brown sugar for flavor)
2 cups apple-cider vinegar (In any grocery store)
1 tsp salt
3 tsp pickling spices (in the spice rack of any grocery store)

Combine sugar and vinegar in small saucepan over low heat to dissolve sugar. Add spices. Pack sliced cucumbers and onions in jar very tight, add liquid and spices, seal and refrigerate. Make sure liquid comes to the top. If not, add more vinegar and water, half-and-half.

The pickles are ready to eat by the next day, and it is easy to make more.

Next up, the other easy recipe for pickled beets, which are also to die for.

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