Since my first canning experience over the Fourth of July weekend this summer, I’ve made two batches of Ruth’s Bread and Butter Pickles, and they are already long gone. I guess eating or giving away everything you’ve canned in the space of two months kind of defeats the purpose of putting up food for winter.
As it is allegedly autumn, despite the 100+ degree temperatures in Southern California, I figure that soon, good pickling cucumbers will be difficult to come by, so I’d better get in another few batches before it’s too late. So, that’s the plan for tomorrow. It may be a few more days before I can start another cookbook (however, since my friend Carmen requested something from the Pacific Northwest, I can tell you that Portland is next up).
In the meantime, here’s a repeat from the Junior League of Tuscaloosa’s Winning Seasons. If you’re in the market for a pickle recipe, I can think of none finer and few easier.
Ruth’s Bread and Butter Pickles
4 quarts medium cucumbers (about 6 pounds sliced)
1 1/2 cups onions (12 to 15 small white ones, or about 1 pound sliced)
2 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup salt
1 to 2 quarts ice, crushed or cubed
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
3 cups clear, distilled vinegar
Wash cucumbers thoroughly, using a vegetable brush, and drain on rack. Slice unpeeled cucumbers into 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch slices.
Add onions, garlic and salt; cover with crushed ice or ice cubes, mix thoroughly, and allow to stand for 3 hours. Drain thoroughly and remove garlic. Combine sugar, spices, and vinegar; heat just to a boil. Add cucumber and onion slices and heat 5 minutes. Pack loosely into clean, hot, pint standard canning jars. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath canner (212 degrees F.) for 5 minutes. Yields 7 pints.
–Ruth G. Kirkpatrick