I’ll be the first to admit that my thumb isn’t exactly green. It’s more chartreuse. I can get a few things to grow – like cucumbers and tomatoes. Mainly because they don’t take a whole lot of work and attention. Sun and water. Easy peasy. I can do that. But if you ask to me to grow just about anything else – it may grow. But it won’t necessarily be pretty. I am trying though. In addition to tomatoes and cucumbers, we also planted corn, carrots and strawberries this year. The strawberries haven’t faired too well. Some pesky bugs managed to enjoy them before they were ripe enough for us to pick. I’m still waiting for the carrots to get a little bigger. And our corn got pulled up by the root during that wicked wind storm a few weeks ago. But my tamaters and cukes made it through and we are harvesting those left and right.I am fairly new to canning. I’ve canned jams for many years now but I haven’t done much veggie canning. I make a lot of refrigerator pickles because I just pop those in a jar then into the fridge where they last about 3 months.
I thought the whole process of actually preserving vegetables was a little too much work or that I wouldn’t do it right. But I don’t have a whole lot of room in my refrigerator to keep that many pickles so I really needed to think about properly preserving them so we have them well into the winter. So when Ball approached me about trying out their new Home Canning Discovery Kit. I thought now might be the perfect time to give it a shot.
This kit comes with 3 pint jars, a canning rack, easy instruction booklet and recipes. It is perfect for beginners. It really demystifies the canning process for folks who might be a tad intimidated.
And let me tell you, now that I have started with this small batch, and realized it isn’t as
difficult or as long and drawn out as I thought – I’m definitely going to be making more. Now I’ll have pickles that will last much longer than 3 months in my fridge. And I think that little basket might come in handy for blanching tomatoes too. I was worried it would melt being in the simmering water for 10 minutes but it held up just fine.
So let me show you how simple this is. I’m making my favorite Bread and Butter Pickles. Anyone know why they are called Bread & Butter? They are a little sweet and a little sour. And I could snack on them all day long. I make these – A LOT. And I’m gonna show you my little secret. This stuff right here; Ball’s Bread & Butter Pickle Mix
You don’t have to go out and buy all the individual spices and pickling salt. It is all right in this little container and it makes it so easy. You measure once – then you’re done.
6 cups sliced, pickling cucumbers (trim off ends)
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp. Ball Bread & Butter Pickle Mix
3 canning jars (pint-sized) and lids with bands
The first thing you need to do is wash your jars and lids in warm soapy water.
And then give them a good, thorough rinse.
If you haven’t done so already, slice up your cucumbers. I’m using pickling cucumbers.
Pickling cucumbers are usually smaller than your average salad cucumber. They are firmer and crisper and have a tender skin that is less bitter. They are unwaxed so the brine can penetrate the skin better. First thing you want to do is give them a good rinse under running water. Then trim off the ends and discard those.
Slice them up into 1/4-inch slices.
I think Bread & Butter slices should be kinda thick. That’s how I like them. I also use this Crinkle Cutter that I got last year when I hosted a Pampered Chef party. It is not necessary at all. I just love those little ridges it makes when you slice the cucumbers. Weird. I know. But we all have our vices, right? Mine just happens to be ridges in pickles.
Now pack all those cucumbers into the pint jars. Not sure if you can tell from the below picture, but I try to stand the bottom layer of cucumbers on their side instead of flat. I think this helps to pack more in. But go with what works easiest for you.
Keep going until all your jars are full.
In a stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and bread & butter pickle mix.
Whisk to combine.
And bring to a boil over medium-high heat. You’re making pickling brine folks!
Turn off heat and begin pouring hot brine over packed cucumbers.
The hot brine will start to soften the cucumbers.
After it cools a bit, you’ll be able to push down some with your fingers to make sure all the
cucumbers are immersed in the brine (using super clean fingers, of course).
cucumbers are immersed in the brine (using super clean fingers, of course).
They will continue to settle as the brine does it’s job. You just want to make sure you leave about 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Center the lids on the jars.
Screw bands on until tight. Now, at this point, you really could just allow them to cool, then store in the fridge for up to 3 months. But if you want to preserve them, you gotta make sure there’s not gonna be any harmful bacteria that can grow while they are hanging out in your pantry for the next few months. So you gotta boil the jars for a few minutes.
Bring water to gentle boil in a large stock pot. There needs to be enough water to cover the jars completely. Put your 3 jars into this handy dandy canning rack.
You may hear the lids begin to make a popping sound as the jars cool and the lids seal.
And that’s it! We just made pickles.
These pickles will stay good in my pantry for up to a year. I’m definitely going to make more as I get more pickling cucumbers from my garden.
Bread & Butter Pickles
Author: The Country Cook
- 6 cups sliced, pickling cucumbers (trim off ends)
- 1¾ cups white vinegar
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp. Ball Bread & Butter Pickle Mix
- 3 canning jars (pint-sized) and lids with bands
- The first thing you need to do is wash your jars and lids in warm soapy water.
- And then give them a good, thorough rinse.
- Slice cucumbers into ¼-inch slices and pack them into the jars.
- In a stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and bread & butter pickle mix.
- Whisk to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Turn off heat and begin pouring hot brine over packed cucumbers.
- The hot brine will start to soften the cucumbers.
- After it cools a bit, you'll be able to push down some with your fingers to make sure all the
- cucumbers are immersed in the brine (using super clean fingers, of course).
- They will continue to settle as the brine does it's job.
- You just want to make sure you leave about ½-inch head space.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- Center the lids on the jars.
- Screw bands on until tight.
- Now, at this point, you really could just allow them to cool, then store in the fridge for up to 3 months.
- But if you want to preserve them, you gotta make sure there's not gonna be any harmful bacteria that can grow while they are hanging out in your pantry for the next few months.
- So you gotta boil the jars for a few minutes.
- Bring water to gentle boil in a large stock pot.
- There needs to be enough water to cover the jars completely.
- Gently lower jars into boiling water using a canning rack or if you have those special rubber-tipped tongs used for canning.
- Then cover with a lid.
- Boil jars for 10 minutes.
- Remove lid. Wait 5 minutes.
- Then gently lift out jars.
- Allow them to cool.
- Then store.
These pickles will stay good in your pantry for up to a year.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for writing this post. I received a Home Canning Discovery Kit and a coupon for free Ball canning jars to test out. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in anyway by Ball Canning Preserves or Jarden Co.