How to Make Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

How to Make Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles; August 2014

As I mentioned in my last post on How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles, I used Mrs. Wage’s Bread and Butter Pickle Packets, to make my first batch of this variety of pickles. As always, the instructions on the packets are really easy to follow since the packets have all the spices needed. Just add vinegar and cucumbers, and you are good to go.   Easy cheesy!  To spice it up, you should skip down to the Bam! Crank it up a notch! Additional Ingredients listed below. Add those elements into your jars before adding the cucumbers and brine. The resulting mixture gives you great tasting pickles that will be a huge hit!

If you are like me, I like to make some tweaks and adjustments to “Bam! kick it up a notch” (as Emeril Lagasse used to say). In fact, I was reminiscing last night with Julie, my wife, about her hatred for Bread and Butter Pickles, and she said that she changed her opinion when I created my first batch of Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles. They were so good, that she changed her opinion about that type of pickle. The reason: it was the sweet tied to the spicy. I have a feeling my boys felt the same way, and I noticed that people really like this style of pickle whenever I bring a jar to a barbeque or gathering.

For the base Bread and Butter Pickle recipe, I used a variation of the Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving, Brett L. Markham’s Mini Farming Handbook and Pick Your recipe this year.  To provide full disclosure, I did make a batch with ground mustard rather than mustard seed in some of the jars, but I usually use mustard seed in all my brines.   Desparate times called for desperate measures!

So, without further ado, here is How to Make Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles!

How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles

Cucumbers Ready for Processing: August 2014

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

Ingredients – Base Recipe

  • 4 pounds of cucumbers (washed and blossom ends removed)
  • 3 thinly sliced medium onions
  • 1/3 cup canning salt
  • 4 cups of vinegar (5% acidity) – I use apple cider vinegar (5% acidity) and it really works well
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 Tablespoon celery seed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • Pickle crisp (per instructions) or grape leaf (optional – I use pickle crisp)

Bam! Crank it up a notch! Additional Ingredients

  • ½ pound sliced jalapenos (add several slices per jar – use caution while cutting and handling them)
  • 1teaspoon pepper flakes (per jar)
  • 12 peppercorns (per jar)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (per jar)

Yield: about 7 pints or 3 quarts

As I mentioned in the Dill Pickle Recipes post, I use pickle crisp in all of my pickle recipes, and it does seem to help keep the pickles crispy.  I have also tasted pickles that have been made with a grape leaf in each jar, and they have been pretty crispy as well.  Without access to grape leaves (for now), I used the pickle crisp.

CAUTION: please follow safe practices for canning!  Do your research/homework and use the correct tools, jars and recipes.  I recommend using the Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving as a guide and a good starting point.  I would also recommend checking out your Cooperative Extension System Offices as well.  The Extension Offices have local knowledge and resources and can help you as well. Other great sites are Pick Your Own and Simply CanningDo your own research and homework!

Directions for How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles

  1. Mix up the brine consisting of the water, vinegar, sugar celery seed, turmeric, mustard seed and salt in a non-reactive pot, stir the brine and bring the brine to a simmer. 
  2. Sterilize your jars, lids and rings.  There has been some discussion online recently about lids, and it appears that lids do not need to be sterilized due to changes in the sealant formula.  I will post on this soon.
  3. Once your jars are sterilized, pack the hot, sterilized jars tight with the cucumbers, onion, peppercorns (12 per jar), jalapenos, pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and pickle crisp/grape leaf in each jar.
  4. Pour the brine over the top and leave 1/4 inches of headspace.  Remove any air bubbles, wipe the lid of each jar with a damp cloth, and put the lid and ring on the jar (hand tight).  
  5. Place the jars in the water bath so that there is an inch of water over the jars and process for 10 minutes (rolling boil).    
  6. Remove the jars and let them sit for 24 hours.  Space them about one inch from each other so they can cool.  

Curing takes about four to six weeks before the pickles develop a really good flavor.

These will be sweet with a good dose of spice, which is a great combination. Try these out, and make sure you say “BAM!” when you serve this to your hungry guests or family.  They will really appreciate you cranking it up a notch!


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