Worcester’s farmers markets are about to blossom with an overabundance of crisp, fresh cucumbers. After a cool, rainy spring season slowed crops down, we’ve had a couple of weeks of weather cucumbers and other squashes love. That means it’s time to dust off your cucumber and squash recipes. This recipe for Icebox Bread and Butter Pickles is a favorite because you don’t have to break out the heavy duty canning equipment and heat up your whole kitchen. All it takes is one pot on the stove to mix and heat the vinegar, and you’re good to go.
Canning Tips for Icebox Bread and Butter Pickles
- Do sterilize your jars and lids. If you have a dishwasher, put them on the top rack and run them through.
- No dishwasher? Wash containers with hot, soapy water, rinse well, and keep them warm in a hot water bath until you’re ready to fill them.
- Do not decrease the amount of vinegar in recipes for refrigerator pickles. The acidity is what keeps nasty microbes from growing and keeps you and your family safe.
- Do use sea salt, kosher salt or pickling salt. Iodized table salt (which is most brands of table salt) will make your pickles slimy.
- Refrigerate the pickles as soon as they reach room temp, and keep them refrigerated at 40 F. or lower.
- Eat them within a month – if you can keep them around that long.
- Use local pickles from your own garden or from the farmers market. Supermarket pickles often have a wax coating to keep them from bruising. The vinegar solution can’t penetrate the wax to properly pickle the cukes.
- Experiment! Cauliflower, carrots, red peppers and many other types of fresh produce make tasty bread and butter pickles.
- Find more tips here
- NOTE: The recipe says the pickles will keep for “a couple of months.” Updated guidance from the University of Wisconsin Extension says up to a month. As always, when it comes to food safety, err on the side of caution. Anything you don’t eat can always be composted.
Icebox Pickles – Local Farmers Recipes
Sweet and crunchy, these refrigerator pickles take just minutes to prepare and keep for a few months in the fridge. They’re a great way to put up extra cucumber bounty from the garden for later.
3 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup cider vinegar
1 ¾ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon celery seed
2 cloves, whole
- Slice the cucumbers into slices about 1/4″ thick.
- Slice onions crosswise into thin slices.
- Crush or coarsely chop the garlic clove.
- Layer the onions, cucumbers and garlic in one of more clean canning jars.
- In a stainless steel pot, combine the salt, vinegar, sugar and spices. Heat to just under a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Carefully pour the hot vinegar mixture over the vegetables in the jars making sure to completely cover them.
- Cover the jars and let them come to room temperature before refrigerating them.
- Got a little more time? Maximize the pickle crunch by sprinkling sliced cucumbers with salt and letting them sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours before canning.