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If you enjoy eating sweet pickles and like to have them in your pantry all winter long then you need to make a batch of those spicy bread and butter pickles. This is my Grandma’s delicious recipe that I grew up looking forward to every canning season They are sweet pickles combined with a little heat perfect on sandwiches, chopped in chicken salad, or just eaten out of the jar with a fork. They’re sure to become a family favorite.

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles in jars

Why do they call it bread and butter pickles?

My grandma grew up during The Great Depression. It was common to have a jar of these pickles on the table for lunch and dinner. They were inexpensive to make, so they were used as a meat substitute in sandwiches. The sweet, tangy pickles and onions were sandwiched between two slices of bread that had been buttered.

Canned vs refrigerator pickles

Refrigerator pickles are fresh pickles in a brining liquid that is stored in the fridge. Canned pickles are usually fermented in brine and stored in the refrigerator until the desired sourness is achieved. They are then processed in a water bath canner for shelf-storage. Like these bread and butter pickles, a sweet pickle is preserved in a sweet syrup and water bath canned for shelf-life.

What are the best cucumbers for pickling?

The key is to start with fresh thin-skinned cucumbers. Thin skin is the single most important factor when selecting cucumbers because a thick, waxy skin will make it more difficult to infuse flavor in the finished product. This would give you a bland-tasting pickle. If you plan on buying your cucumbers at a local grocery store or farmers market, then try to find small, firm, thin-skinned cukes for the crunchiest bite. Pickling cucumbers have a more compact seed core vs. the hot-house English cucumber commonly found in the grocery. These are better suited for slicing and serving raw in salads.

How many cucumbers per pint?

On average, you will need 1 pound of cucumbers for every pint or 2 pounds for every quart. So an average of 14 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts, or an average of 9 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.

How to make your pickles spicy

You can have a pinch of heat or flame torching heat when making your pickles. If you like a little heat, use the recipe as is, being sure to remove the membrane and seeds from the fresh pepper.

For this recipe, I used one serrano pepper in each jar. If you like a lot of heat, then use a hotter pepper. Pepper Jo has a great chart on the peppers heat index.

  • Jalapenos = 2,500 – 5,000 SHU
  • Serrano = 5,000 – 15,000 SHU
  • Habaneros = 100,000 – 350,000 SHU
  • Ghost peppers = 855,000 – 1,463,000 SHU
  • Carolina Reaper = 2,000,000 – 2,200,000 SHU

How to can the pickles

If you are new to canning then pop over and read my post on Water Bath Canning for beginners. Water bath canning is the easiest processing method used in home canning for high acid foods such as jams, jellies, and pickles.Also, if you are new to canning be sure and read my Canning Supplies Guide. There are many helpful tips and ideas.

Preparing the cucumbers

  1. Wash cucumbers
  2. Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch thick slices
  3. Slice onions thinly
  4. Place cucumbers and onions in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Mix well with salt.
  5. Cover with cold water and ice. Allow setting on the counter for 2 hours. This makes them crispy.

I like using a Mandoline Slicer slicer to cut my cucumbers and onions. It’s important that your slices are equal in thickness and this makes it a lot easier.

Preparing the pickle juice

  1. Slice the serranos in half. If you like it real spicy, keep the membranes and seeds in the peppers
  2. When the 2 hours are up, drain and rinse the cucumbers and onions well.
  3. In an 8 quart pan, combine vinegar, sugar pickling spice, turmeric, and crushed red peppers.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Stir in cucumbers, onions, and serranos
  6. Bring back to a boil, stirring as needed, so all vegetables are coated in the pickling liquid.
  7. When it comes to a boil, remove immediately from heat.

Water bath canning pickles

  1. Before you start, prepare your water bath canner. Fill water bath canner at least half-full with water. Cover and maintain a simmer (180°F) until jars are filled and placed in the canner.
  2. Check jars, lids, and bands for proper functioning. Jars with nicks, cracks, uneven rims or sharp edges may prevent sealing or cause jar breakage. The underside of lids should not have scratches or an uneven or incomplete sealing compound, which may prevent sealing. Bands should fit on jars. Wash all in hot, soapy water and dry well.
  3. Pre-heat your canning jars in hot (180°F) water. Keeping jars hot prevents them from breaking when filled with hot food. Leave lids and bands at room temperature for easy handling.
  4. Use a jar lifter to remove the pre-heated jar. Fill jars one at a time with prepared food using a Jar Funnel, leaving headspace recommended in the recipe. Remove air bubbles, if stated in the recipe, by sliding the bubble remover & headspace tool or rubber spatula between the jar and food to release the trapped air. Repeat around jar 2-3 times. For successful sealing, you need to leave the correct amount of space between the food and the jar’s rim.
  5. Wipe the jars’ rims and threads using a clean, damp cloth to remove any food residue. Center lid on the jar, allowing sealing compound to contact the jar rim. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. Place jar in canner. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all jars are filled. Ensure water covers jars by 1-2 inches.
  6. Place lid on water bath canner and bring water back to a rolling boil. Begin processing time.
  7. Process in boiling water for 15 minutes. When complete, shut off the heat and remove the lid. Allow jars to rest in the canner for 5 minutes to be acclimated to the outside temperature.
  8. Move jars from the canner and set them upright on a towel. This will prevent jar breakage that can occur from temperature differences. Leave jars undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. DO NOT retighten bands, as this may interfere with the sealing process.
  9. Inspect lids for seals. There should be no flex when the center is pressed. Remove the bands and attempt to lift lids off with your fingertips. Properly sealed lids will remain attached. If a lid fails to seal within 24 hours, immediately refrigerate the product. Clean canning jars and lids, label, and store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 18 months.

What to serve them with

I have a fond memory of my grandma canning bread and butter pickles. I loved eating them right out of the jar. I was always happy when she sent me off with a fork and a jar. The sweet, tangy flavor was a treat. They are also great on burgers, subs, and bbq sandwiches. Chop some up and add to potato or macaroni salad.

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Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles
5 from 3 ratings

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 3 pints
Grandma's Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles are a delicious canned sweet pickles with a little heat that are sure to become a family favorite.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

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Ingredients
 

  • 10 cups cucumbers, about 24 6" cucumbers sliced
  • 2 onions, large sweet Vidalia
  • serrano peppers, 1 per jar for a little heat 2 per jar for kicked even more heat
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 4 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons crushed red peppers and seeds

Instructions
 

  • Wash cucumbers
  • Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • Slice onions thinly
  • Place cucumbers and onions in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Mix well with salt.
  • Cover with cold water and ice. Allow setting on the counter for 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, sterilize jars in canner by heating in a boiling water bath for a few minutes. Remove to counter
  • Slice the serranos in half. If you like it real spicy keep the membranes and seeds in the peppers
  • When the 2 hours are up, drain and rinse the cucumbers and onions well.
  • In an 8 quart pan, combine vinegar, sugar pickling spice, turmeric, and crushed red peppers.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar
  • Stir in cucumbers, onions, and serranos
  • Bring back to a boil stirring as needed so all vegetables are coated in the pickling liquid.
  • When it comes to a boil remove immediately from heat
  • Ladle vegetables and juice into sterilized jars, being sure to get one or two serrano peppers in each jar.

Water Bath Canning

  • Before you start, prepare your water bath canner. Fill water bath canner at least half-full with water. Cover and maintain a simmer (180°F) until jars are filled and placed in canner.
  • Check jars, lids, and bands for proper functioning. Jars with nicks, cracks, uneven rims, or sharp edges may prevent sealing or cause jar breakage. The underside of lids should not have scratches or uneven or incomplete sealing compound as this may prevent sealing. Bands should fit on jars. Wash all in hot, soapy water and dry well.
  • Pre-heat your canning jars in hot (180°F) water. Keeping jars hot prevents them from breaking when filled with hot food. Leave lids and bands at room temperature for easy handling.
  • Use a Jar Lifter to remove the pre-heated jar. Fill jars one at a time with prepared food using a Jar Funnel, leaving headspace recommended in the recipe. Remove air bubbles, if stated in the recipe, by sliding the bubble remover & headspace tool or rubber spatula between the jar and food to release the trapped air. Repeat around jar 2-3 times. For successful sealing, you need to leave the correct amount of space between the food and the rim of the jar.
  • Wipe the rims and threads of the jars using a clean, damp cloth to remove any food residue. Center lid on the jar, allowing sealing compound to contact the jar rim. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip-tight. Place jar in canner. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all jars are filled. Ensure water covers jars by 1-2 inches.
  • Place lid on water bath canner and bring water back to a rolling boil. Begin processing time.
  • Process in the boiling water for 15 minutes. When complete, shut off heat and remove the lid. Allow jars to rest in canner for 5 minutes to be acclimated to the outside temperature.
  • Move jars from the canner and set them upright on a towel. This will prevent jar breakage that can occur from temperature differences. Leave jars undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. DO NOT retighten bands as this may interfere with the sealing process.
  • Inspect lids for seals. There should be no flex when the center is pressed. Remove the bands and attempt to lift lids off with your fingertips. Properly sealed lids will remain attached. If a lid fails to seal within 24 hours, immediately refrigerate the product. Clean canning jars and lids, label, and store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to for up 18 months.
Serving: 1pint, Calories: 945kcal, Carbohydrates: 222g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 18889mg, Potassium: 813mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 209g, Vitamin A: 353IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 157mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Canning
Author: Gina Dickson

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