Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bread n' Butter Pickles

Every once in awhile, something comes into your life that you really, really need -you just hadn't realized it yet. My son brought this BIG POT home, given to him by his friend's mother the other day. Now, I have a pot (pushed to the side just out of view in the photo above) big enough for making spaghetti and soup for our family, single batches of my jam and pickle recipes, -heavy bottomed, stainless steel, quite adequately large, I thought- but it is dwarfed by BIG POT which, not surprisingly, was once used for cooking in a large communal house.

The day after BIG POT came into our kitchen, I was making Bread n' Butter Pickles and the cucumbers I'd picked were enough for half again the recipe -too much for my not-so-big-pot to hold. That was when I realized what had been missing in my life all these years: BIG POT. A recipe and a half would easily fit in it, as well as double jam recipes, quadruple batches of strawberry preserves, huge vats of stock or soup for freezing.... Forever gone is the frustrating experience of putting ingredients into my not-so-big-pot and midway realizing it won't all fit. Never again. Thank you, Bob and Trista.

Bread n' Butter Pickles
Adapted from Pickles and Relishes by Andrea Chesman

4 quarts sliced, unpeeled cucumbers
4 medium sliced onions
2 red sweet peppers, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 c. pickling salt

5 c. sugar
3 c. cider or white vinegar (I use cider)
2 T. mustard seeds
1 1/2 t. turmeric
1 1/2 t. celery seeds

Combine sliced cucumbers, onions, peppers, garlic and salt in 5 gallon crock, large ceramic, glass or stainless steel bowl, or clean plastic bucket. Cover the vegetables with ice and mix well. Let stand 3 hours. Drain (remove any remaining large chunks of ice). Combine remaining ingredients in a large kettle. Add vegetables to syrup and bring to a boil. Pack pint jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal. Water bath 5 minutes.
Makes 8 pints (a single batch recipe for not-so-big-pots)

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