Seasonal local food recipe No.293 – Bread and butter pickles

This recipe has been recommended by CSA member Sarah Brown.  It is taken from Rick Stein’s Food Heroes but there are references to these pickles back as far as the Great Depression and earlier.  A great homemade version of gherkins for burgers, cold meats, cheeses and as the name suggests just bread & butter.

Makes 4 x 450g (1lb) jars

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

750g / 1 1/2lb cucumbers
450g / 1 lb onions
1 green pepper
50g / 2 oz salt
Pickling liquor
350g / 12 oz light soft brown sugar
475ml / 16 fl oz cider vinegar
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp celery seed

Trim the ends off the cucumbers, scoop seeds with a teaspoon (optional) and cut them into thin slices about 3-4mm thick. Finely slice the onion and slice the pepper. Put the cucumber, onion and pepper in a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Cover and leave for three to four hours, or overnight – this will remove excess water and help to keep the vegetable crisp when pickled.  Rinse, drain and dry the vegetables thoroughly.  Put all the remaining ingredients in a large, stainless-steel pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the cucumber, onion & pepper and simmer for three to four minutes – the cucumber will turn a slight yellowy-olive colour.  Pack into warm, sterilised jars right up to the brim, and cap immediately with vinegar-proof lids. These will keep for a year, preferably in a dark place to preserve the colour. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within three or four weeks.

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