When I was young, I remember visiting my father’s aunt and uncle. Uncle Roland and Aunt Estelle. I remember Auntie Estelle more vividly than Uncle Roland. Probably because she was one of the nicest ladies I’v ever met. She was so very sweet, but you could tell she had a little fire in her though. A quiet woman, almost submissive. She had a kind way about her, always a smile on her face. Her clothes were neat and pressed and I seem to remember her wearing an apron all the time. I always admired her homekeeping skills.
To me she was the epitome of a homemaker. Her apron. Her neat clothes and set silver hair. Her house was always immaculate. I dintinctly remember the thick plastic over all her upholstered furniture. Never anything out of place. Not really a fun place to visit though. Her children were grown, so there was never really much to do there. But she was always so attentive and affectionate to us kids. I could tell she missed having children around. I didnt mind the visits at all.
She and Uncle Roland had vegetable gardens that were as neat as the house and whenever we went in the summer we would always leave with ripened tomatoes and cucumbers and whatever else they had in abundance.
Before we’d leave, Auntie Estelle would come out with jars of pickles that she had canned herself. They were always in the thick glass jars with the heavy orange rubber band seal that would be held in place by the flip top lid with the metal closure.
I loved the way they looked with all the seeds and spices. Mostly I loved how they tasted. They were so very sweet and perfectly spiced. I think what made them so good though was how thinly sliced, yet crisp the cukes and onions were. I have never had bread and butter pickles quite like them.
Have you ever had something taste so good, you search to find it, but they all pale in comparison to that memory? This is one of those palate memories for me.
I kick myself for never asking her for the recipe, as she has since passed.
This recipe is close. They are super sweet. I mean SWEET. I sliced everything very thin, just the way Auntie did and the spices are almost identical. I did find them a little saltier than I like. But I don’t like to use a lot of salt either, so it may have been just me. I think next time I will cut the salt a tad. This was my first time making pickles. I will make adjustments next time.
+Note: These were not processed, so they need to be refrigerated and eaten within 3-4 weeks. I don’t have alot of experience canning, but I am pretty sure you can process these in a water bath and store them. Any of you home canners want to chime in on this, it would be appreciated!
If you are trying to get rid of some of those cukes, give it a shot. If you like bread and butter pickles, you won’t be dissapointed.
Bread and Butter Pickles
1 pound cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick “pickling” or kirby cucumbers work best here
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Diamond Kosher salt (It’s important to use Diamond brand Read this first.]
1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (if ground, use 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture with ice. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. In a pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil. Drain cucumbers and onions. Add to vinegar mixture and bring almost back to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. You can store the pickles in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the fridge. They will begin tasting pickled in just a couple hours.
Recipe from the amazing Deb at Smitten Kitchen