Tuesday, August 6, 2013

YIKES! Paleo Bread and Butter Pickles

Crisp, sweet bread and butter pickles are a delight year-round. Pickles are one of the simplest and most fun home-canned foods to make. As some of my readers know already, I follow the paleo diet, and one aspect of that diet is that I avoid refined white sugar.

Bread and butter pickles typically call for white sugar, but they can easily be made with other sweeteners! Try my paleo bread and butter pickles-- I'd love to know what you think.

To make these paleo bread and butter pickles, you will need your ingredients, a few canning jars, and a large cooking pot.  These pickles take about 50 minutes to prepare.  The recipe calls for about 10 cups sliced cucumbers, but you can easily scale it up or down, so do not be afraid to experiment. Adding spices to your pickles is an area where you can feel free to make changes and substitutions as needed.

 Before you get started, you'll want to make sure you have:
  •  4-5 canning jars with lids and bands
  • A cooking pot big enough to accommodate your jars
  • Cucumbers
    Firm pickling cucumbers are best. Wash them well and slice them up how you like them.You can use a food processor's chopping blade to speed this up, or if you like, a wavy crinkle-cut knife for classic bread and butter chips.
  • Your favorite (non-iodized) salt
  • 2-3 medium onions, sliced
  • Ice

    Syrup ingredients
    (for approximately 10 cups chopped cukes-- scale up or down as needed):
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 2/3 cup honey or 2 1/2 cups palm sugar or other sweetener*
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

cucumber in the garden
spices for pickling bread and butter pickles

Step One: Preparation

Put your chopped cucumbers and onions in a large bowl, and mix with approximately 1/8 cup of salt and about 3 cups cracked ice. Then place a weight on top of the mixture-- a plate with a gallon jug of vinegar works well for me. Let it sit at room temperature for 3 hours.

Sterilizing Your Jars

As the cukes chill out in the bowl, it is a great time to sterilize your jars. Simply wash your jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse, and dry. Then, place washed jars upside down on your oven rack at 225 degrees for 15 minutes. You can leave them there until they're needed.

Step Two: Combining Cucumbers + Syrup

After three hours has passed, remove the weight and rinse the cucumbers and onions.

In a large pot, combine the syrup ingredients, and add the rinsed cukes and onions. Put on medium heat and allow it to slowly come to a near-boil, then remove from heat.

Filling the Jars

Leave some air space at the top (about 1") and see that the syrup mostly covers the cucumbers and onions. Place your jar lids on and screw on the bands until they are finger-tight (about as tight as you comfortably can go using just your fingertips).

Two great optional tools for canning at home.
A wide-mouth funnel makes filling jars a snap. A jar
lifter makes it easier to get a grip on jars in the pot.

Step Three: Canning

Fill your large pot with water (enough water to cover the tops of your jars by about 1") and bring it to a boil. (If you have a metal rack to keep jars off the bottom of your pot, insert it. This minimizes the chance of any jars breaking. However, you can do canning successfully without any special tools.)

Place your jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

Remove jars, or simply turn the stove off and wait for the water to cool.

After 24 hours, remove the bands from your jars and check that the lids have been sucked down (sealed). If any jars are not sealed, pop them into the refrigerator. They will still be tasty and safe to eat, but will need to be kept cold.

You can eat your pickles right away, but for best results, wait two to four weeks to enjoy! Mmmm!

*For other sweeteners, use the equivalent of 2 1/2 cups of refined white sugar.

Thanks to the following recipes for helping to inform this one: Preppy Paleo | Food.com | Low Carb One Day

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