Top | The Joy of Pickling

Old-Fashioned Bread-and-Butters

(recipe, Linda Ziedrich)

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Not long before publication of the first edition of this book, I learned that bread-and-butter pickles had gone upscale. At a benefit for Citymeals-on-Wheels at Rockefeller Center in New York City, Alice Waters, chef and owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, served bread-and-butter pickles with smoked salmon and watercress on toasted walnut bread. (Afterward, though, she said she regretted not choosing miniature hamburgers instead of the salmon to go with the pickles.) These bread-and-butters are a little less sweet than most; you can increase the sugar, if you like. Some people also add a little ground cloves, and you might try some diced red pepper in place of some of the onions. One of my pickling correspondents, Mark Cravens, uses a teaspoon or more of whole coriander seeds for "a little floral flavor."


  1. 6 lb. pickling cucumbers (each about 4 to 5 inches long)
  2. 2 lb. small onions, sliced into thin rounds
  3. ½ cup pickling salt
  4. 4½ cups cider vinegar
  5. 3 cups sugar
  6. 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  7. 2 tsp. whole celery seeds
  8. 2 Tbsp. whole yellow mustard seeds


  1. Slice the cucumbers crosswise to a thickness of one-sixteenth inch, discarding both ends.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers and onions with the salt. Empty 2 trays of ice cubes over the vegetables and let them stand at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Drain the vegetables. In a large nonreactive pot, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil. Add the vegetables and slowly return the contents to a boil.
  4. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to pint mason jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Divide the liquid evenly among the jars.
  5. Close the jars with two-piece caps. In a boiling-water bath, process the jars for 10 minutes. Or pasteurize the jars for 30 minutes by immersing them in water heated to 180 to 185 degrees.
  6. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 1 month before eating the pickles After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.