How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles and a Giveaway!

How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles and a Giveaway!

I have been yacking all Summer about how busy I have been. I have actually been swamped if you want to know the truth! It really has been the busiest Summer I can remember. I know I certainly did not have enough time to sit back, relax and enjoy some of these! I can’t say that I am looking forward to cold weather, but I think things will quiet down for me in the Fall, so I will be thankful for that.

As you may know, much of the busy time has been from helping to plan and coordinate Food Blog Forum Atlanta (it starts this Friday! Yay!). We have also been doing some travel for On the Road with Bunkycooks articles. The other very time consuming project has been canning!

Kirby Cukes make the best pickles!

You may have seen my posts on Strawberry Freezer Jam and How to Make Freezer Jams. Those are pretty simple to do, but do take a bit of time, although preserving foods by freezing is definitely the easiest method. They are sooo worth making! If you haven’t tried to do it yet, you definitely should.

The other way of preserving foods is not quite so easy. I will have a few posts on canning in the coming weeks. Let me just say, that me and the little Blue Book of Preserving from Ball have gotten to know each other quite well in the past couple of months. Mr. Bunkycooks and I have been canning maniacs!

I have learned a great deal about canning that I never knew before. I also think that canning is making a comeback as more and more people are concerned about where their foods are coming from and how they make it from the farm to their dinner table. I know I am.

Kirby Cukes and Onions are Chillin'!

I have certainly gained a new appreciation for my food after visiting the farms that we have this Summer. I really have become fussier than usual about what I eat and where it comes from. I am trying to stash as much wonderful local produce away as I can so that I can rely on many of our own canned goods in the coming months. Realistically, I know that I will have to purchase some items that are not local, but I am certainly going to be more thoughtful about it.

If you have never canned, let me suggest a few things to you. 1. Two sets of hands are better than one. 2. An assembly line works well if you are organized. 3. Do not start this process if you are in a bad mood, on edge or already fussing with your hubby or partner. It will only get worse!

You have to drain the cukes and onions...

When you first begin, it is a bit stressful when you are trying to keep the jars sterile, the ingredients at the right temperature, the lids sterile and the water boiling all at the same time, especially in a small space. In fact, as a friend said to me, it can look a bit like this…remember I Love Lucy and the Chocolate Factory?! I promise it will get easier the more you do it (and I have now canned enough to vouch for that!).

However, I know that the fruits of our labors will be well worth it come the Fall and Winter when I can head down to the basement and grab a jar of my own bread and butter pickles!

I thought I would share this recipe with you first. It is from the Ball Blue Book and it is one of the easiest preserved foods to make, especially if you are a beginner. This is a fresh pack version of Bread and Butter Pickles and takes much less time than the regular version. Since canning is really a bit of a science and needs to all work together to be successful, I don’t stray much from the tried and true recipes.

Then you need to rinse them to remove the canning salt...

Bread and Butter Pickles are prepared in a boiling water canner, which I find to be the easier method. Anything with a high acidic level (such as pickles, tomatoes) can be prepared in the boiling water canner. Anything that is not acidic (like green beans) needs to be prepared in a pressure cooker canner. You will also need these nifty little gadgets to help you with canning no matter which method you are using.

Initially, the pressure canner is a little frightening to use (think blowing up your kitchen!). Of course, pressure cookers have always made me nervous. My mom used them all the time when I was a kid. We have one now that we cook certain foods in. I let Mr. Bunkycooks deal with it along with the pressure canner.

Fill the jars with your pickles.

It is also necessary, as I have found, to make adjustments for cooking in higher altitudes. You will need to increase the cooking times for the boiling water canner or increase the amount of pressure on the gauge of the pressure cooker canner. Since much of my canning took place in the mountains this Summer, I had to make these adjustments. This little Ball Blue Book (the ones I have are not blue, they are yellow!) will tell you all about it! You can also refer to the Ball website for more information on preserving foods.

Since this whole canning business is very precise, I thought that I would give away this essential canning book to two of my readers! I thought that you might want to get in on the fun while there are still some goodies left to can (and of course, there are all sorts of Fall and Winter goodies to can, too!). I bought these (this is not sponsored by Ball) and will ship them to whoever wins in either the United States or Canada.

Pickles in the canner!

Here is how you enter:

Leave a comment on this post telling me what you would like to can this Fall! Be sure to have your email/blog somewhere on the comment so that I can contact you if you are a winner.

Extra Entries:

Here are four additional ways that you can enter.

1. Follow @bunkycooks on Twitter. Leave a comment here indicating that you are now a follower. If you are already a follower, you can leave a comment saying you are.

2. Tweet about this giveaway. Leave a comment here and tell me that you tweeted.

3. Become a fan of Bunkycooks on Facebook. Leave a comment here indicating you are now a fan. If you are already a fan, you can leave a comment saying you are.

4. Subscribe to Bunkycooks by RSS feed or email. Leave a comment saying you are now a subscriber. If you are already a subscriber, you can leave a comment saying you are.

*** Please be sure to leave separate comments as they are easier to count! Thanks!

The more times you leave a comment, the more chances you have to win! That would be 5 chances total (but, who’s counting?!). I will be using to pick the 2 winners. The contest is only open to those of you in the US or Canada. (I apologize to all of my readers anywhere else in the world).

This giveaway ends at 5 pm EST on Monday, September 13th.

I will notify the winners by email. Please get back to me with your shipping information within 48 hours.



Julie – I would love to try to can tomato sauce and salsa. I have never canned before! And I can’t wait to meet you this weekend…can’t believe it’s almost here! @thelittlekitchn

Val – I just made my first batch of jam (peach-rosemary) last week and i am now addicted! I didn’t “can” the jam because i don’t have the equipment or the know how, but i would love get started with this kit.

Please send me your addresses so that I can send you your Ball book! Thank you!

Bread and Butter Pickles

From the Ball Blue Book – Guide to Preserving
Makes about 7 pints


4 pounds 4- to 6-inch cucumbers (Kirby cucumbers), cut into 1/4″ slices
2 pounds onions, thinly sliced (about 8 small)
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons tumeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 cups white vinegar


Combine cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl, layering with salt; cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1 1/2 hours. Drain; rinse; drain again. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot; bring to a boil. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Make adjustments for altitude, if necessary.

* These fresh pack pickles need to sit for at least 4 to 6 weeks to cure and develop a true bread and butter pickle flavor.

64 Responses to “How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles and a Giveaway!”

  1. 1

    Lori @ RecipeGirl — September 6, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

    Oh, I absolutely love bread & butter pickles. I think I’d start by canning those! I’ve always wanted to make my own jams too… and tomato sauce. I’ve fiddled around a bit w/ canning but I never know if I’m truly doing it right or not- always afraid something didn’t go as it was supposed to and the goods inside will go bad!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 6th, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

      Hi Lori,

      Thanks for the comment. The only way you really have to ensure that your canned goods are prepared properly is to keep things sterilized, process them for the exact amount of time and have the seal “pop”. This will happen after you boil or steam pressure your canned goods. The middle of the top will pop down after the processing is over. That means that the seal is good/secure. It can happen immediately or can take a few hours. After that, you need to let the canned items sit for about 24 hours. Then you can remove the metal rims, wipe the jars clean and the store in a cool place for up to a year. Your other option is to freeze or dehydrate some fruits and veggies if you do not want to can. It’s really not so difficult once you do it a few times.


  2. 2

    Monet — September 6, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

    I would love to can some tomato sauce…we eat a lot of pasta during the colder months! I can’t believe your conference starts this weekend! How exciting…and you must be swamped! Thank you for your candid advice and instructions about making these pickles. I’ll know to do these on a day when I’m feeling tranquil and relaxed!

  3. 3

    Marie — September 6, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

    Divine Mrs. B –
    I echo what Lori said…I am always nervous that something will go bad!
    And….if you don’t have a boiling water canner, can you just use boiling water in a pot? And…any suggestions for removing air bubbles?
    By the way, great photos again. These actually kept me reading.

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 6th, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

      Hi Marie,

      LOL! You are too funny! Just follow the instructions just as they are for any canning process and read my comment to Lori. I know you will do just fine. You can use a really large pot of water if you are preparing canned goods that are acidic. You have to use a pressure canner for foods that are not acidic. Out boiling water canner is 12″ round by 10″ tall. You just need to be sure that whatever you prepare can fit in the canner all at once and it needs to remain at a boiling point though the entire process. It can’t be done in stages.

      There is a tool that will remove air bubbles before you put the lids on and process. It is basically a plastic spatula. Also, be sure to wipe the rims clean before yo put the tops on. If the rims are sticky or nor dry, the rims will not seal. If Lucy and Ethel can figure it out (me and Mr. B), I know you can! I hope you will give it a try! :)


  4. 4

    Brian @ A Thought For Food — September 6, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

    Monet beat me to it, but I would most definitely like to can some tomato sauce before the end of the season. I should add that I am following you on Twitter and Facebook. And everyone else should do the same! :-)

  5. 5

    VickiT — September 6, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

    You just brought back wonderful childhood memories for me with these pickles. Bread and Butter pickles were my fathers favorite. My Mom had a huge garden when she was alive which I helped her with every summer. I was always in the kitchen with her from a young age so I could learn as much as I could from her. This was one recipe she did teach me and I now wish I had learned many others but many times I was in school so that never happened. Once she was gone I made sure to can these pickles for my father each summer because I knew it would make him happy and remind him of Mom too. He loved them. I was so happy that I had learned the recipe and how to do them.

    I would LOVE to have the book though since there are so many other things I would love to can. I had planned to make cherry jam and we bought a huge 20 lb box of MI cherries to do it. BUT, we all ate them before they turned into jam. OOPS. LOL I would still love to make bread and butter pickles for sure however.

  6. 6

    VickiT — September 6, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

    I am an email subscriber of your blog. I love reading all your posts because they are always so interesting.

  7. 7

    pegasuslegend — September 7, 2010 @ 4:30 am

    Amazing instruction wonderful!

  8. 8

    Paula — September 7, 2010 @ 4:57 am

    I love such pickles!

  9. 9

    JulieD — September 7, 2010 @ 9:45 am

    I would love to try to can tomato sauce and salsa. I have never canned before!

    And I can’t wait to meet you this weekend…can’t believe it’s almost here!


  10. 10

    JulieD — September 7, 2010 @ 9:46 am

    I already follow you on twitter, I’m @thelittlekitchn.

  11. 11

    JulieD — September 7, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    I already subscribe to your blog via Google Reader.

  12. 12

    JulieD — September 7, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    I just became a fan of yours on facebook. Thanks!

  13. 13

    SusanS — September 7, 2010 @ 10:38 am

    I’m going to make homemade salsa with the bumper crop of tomatoes I planted in June (that never set fruit until now because it was too hot). German Johnsons, Romas, Mexicos and a mutt Bradley I bought for 50 cents at Ace hardware.

  14. 14

    SusanS — September 7, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    There is nothing like the pop of the lid seals when they are cooling. They tell you you did it right!

  15. 15

    Becky — September 7, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

    My husband and I made Lime pickles from a recipe that I got from my Aunt Millie, who is 85 yrs. It was a 2 day process, but well worth it. However, that was BHS, before my husband’s heart surgery. Now, he’s on a low sodium, low fat diet, so making jars of pickles is now out of the question, unfortunately. I can only drool over your pictures.

  16. 16

    Kristina — September 7, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    I am totally a subscriber already! Lucky for me! I’m trying to get on the home canning bandwagon, although it terrifies me a little, so I’ve been trepidatiously trying one little project at a time to see if anyone dies. (So far so good.)

  17. 17

    Kristina — September 7, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

    I’m totally a Twitter follower already, too.

  18. 18

    Kristina — September 7, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

    I wish I could can pumpkin this fall, although from what I’ve read, it’s one of the Most! Dangerous! things to try to can and should be avoided. It’s just that the local grocers around me don’t carry pumpkin year-round, not at all, not even in cans. I cannot for the life of me figure out why not.

  19. 19

    Conniegirl from Canada — September 7, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

    I am an existing follower on your RSS/Email. Canning is so simple and its a wonderful way to preserve the summers bounty. …. I absolutely love Bread & Butter pickles, yours look fantactic. I prefer mine crinkle cut…no idea why, I am sure they taste the same. I do have a couple jars left from last year still but I just spent my labout day weekend labouring over pickled beets and canning sockeye salmon. We are having a wonderful sockeye run this year and it is plentiful and cheap. I intend to start on the tomatoes this weekend. Then the Red Pepper Jalapeno Jelly…it seems there is always something to can. Keep up the wonderful blog.

  20. 20

    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — September 7, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    When I lived in Raleigh, we had a huge garden. My husband was an Indiana boy and grew up with a family garden that supplied all of their fresh and then winter produce from canning so we sort of did the same thing but scaled back because we were NEVER going to have five children.

    And we had abundant tomatoes, peppers, corn, squash and cucumbers…so I canned (or at least tried) several varieties. I tried dill pickles but have to say, could never get something to taste as good as those Clausen dills…however, bread and butter pickles? I could sit and eat them by the bowlful so they were a big favorite. Those and sweet gherkins; funny how the thought of a pickle is making me homesick for NC!

    Like Lori, I felt some anxiety the first time but truth is…it’s simple. That pop and the ensuing sealed lid? A nice visual identifier that all is well. I don’t need the book but thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  21. 21

    Kelli — September 7, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

    I would love to try to can some apple or pumpkin butter!

  22. 22

    Cristina @ TeenieCakes — September 7, 2010 @ 6:45 pm

    I’ve been noticing a lot more newly released books on canning and creating jams/preserves from seasonal produce. Like many have mentioned in their comments, I’m very interested in trying my hand at canning, but I too am worried of things going bad and that I may not sterlize things correctly, etc. I’d start with tomatoes or jams/preserves. Great giveaway, Gwen…pick me! 😉

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 8th, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

      Hi there,

      I happened to see your comment. I would love to reply to every comment, but will have to wait until after FBF this weekend! I have been so busy…looking forward to some watermelon martinis come Sunday!!! :)

  23. 23

    Cristina @ TeenieCakes — September 7, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

    I’m a Twitter follower already! :)

  24. 24

    Cristina @ TeenieCakes — September 7, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

    I’ve tweeted about this great giveaway! :)

  25. 25

    Lynn — September 7, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

    I started with jam making just over a year ago. Experiment always trying to come up with fun new tastes, most recently White Peach and Lillet Jam. Made curried cucumbers last fall (sadly admit they’re still in my fridge, I’m scared to try them). Canned my first long beans this year, as with salsa. Have a batch of romas from the farmer’s market waiting to be canned whole for use in soup this winter. Before all the summer produce goes away, I hope to try your pickles, as the hubby loves them, as with corn salsa.

  26. 26

    Rachel — September 7, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

    I’m following you on twitter! My twitname is @rachbakes :)

  27. 27

    Rachel — September 7, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

    Retweeted your post! RT @bunkycooks: How to make Bread and Butter Pickles, some info on canning and a Giveaway! (New Post}

  28. 28

    Rachel — September 7, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

    I’m a facebook fan!

  29. 29

    Rachel — September 7, 2010 @ 7:18 pm

    I’m now a subscriber!!

  30. 30

    Rachel — September 7, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

    I would loveee to can my own jellies! I make some pretty good ones (if I do say so myself) so I’d love to be able to keep them so well-preserved!! :)

  31. 31

    Victoria — September 7, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

    I’m now following you on Twitter! Love the pickles. Just canned 15 quarts of tomatoes this weekend.

  32. 32

    Victoria — September 7, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

    Oh, and I just posted a Tweet about this post! Thanks!

  33. 33

    marla {family fresh cooking} — September 7, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    Thanks for motivating us to get canning! I have never done this but I need to someday. Your B&B pickles must be amazing. It must be so thrilling to pop open your own jar of goodies in the middle of the winter. Best of luck with the Food Blog Forum this weekend! xo

  34. 34

    Kristen — September 8, 2010 @ 12:44 am

    I love to can. In fact, I have a bunch of tomatoes and another bunch of plums that have been cursing my name because I have been putting off making them into something(s) wonderful.

  35. 35

    Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris — September 8, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    I’m out of the giveaway, sniff !! sniff !!! yet I remain loyal to you !!
    Gwen, you work so much you are starting to make me feel guilty…LOL

  36. 36

    The Cilantropist — September 8, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    This post was fabulous and so informative, and your recipe for the pickles is so similar to the one I use from smitten kitchen and they are awesome!!!
    Anyway, I am also really excited about your give away, and this fall I would like to can more pickles, as well as some tomatoes (if I am not already too late!) and definitely applesauce, I do that every year!

  37. 37

    The Cilantropist — September 8, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    I also follow you on Twitter! :)

  38. 38

    The Cilantropist — September 8, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    And I just tweeted about the giveaway and this great post!

  39. 39

    The Cilantropist — September 8, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    And last but not least, I just became a fan on facebook! Have an awesome day! 😀

  40. 40

    Dawn Chase — September 8, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    Hi! I just discovered your blog today as I am just diving into the world of canning. I am heading out to Wegman’s to stock up on Kirbys and get started so thanks for the tips and advice (and recipe!). I hope that if I can master the canning process I can bring it into the classroom and teach my students how to make their own food to enjoy through the winter.

  41. 41

    Dawn Chase — September 8, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    I am now following you on Twitter!

  42. 42

    Dawn Chase — September 8, 2010 @ 11:37 am

    I am “like” you on FB!

  43. 43

    Dawn Chase — September 8, 2010 @ 11:38 am

    I tweeted about the recipe and the giveaway!

  44. 44

    Tricia — September 8, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

    This summer I canned…..strawberry jam (it didn’t gel so it is syrup), white peach jam, sweet jalapenos and refrigerator pickles. Now, you have made me think about what else I might put in those jars…..

  45. 45

    Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective — September 9, 2010 @ 10:21 am

    Those are some great looking pickles! Tweeting now!

  46. 46

    Magic of Spice — September 9, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

    These look wonderful…afraid I have never tried to can anything, do infusions count? lol… Nice giveaway :)

  47. 47

    val — September 9, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

    I just made my first batch of jam (peach-rosemary) last week and i am now addicted! I didn’t “can” the jam because i don’t have the equipment or the know how, but i would love get started with this kit.

  48. 48

    val — September 9, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

    I also have subscribed by email to your blog.

  49. 49

    The Mom Chef — September 9, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

    There’s nothing like the sound of the lids popping as the seal takes at the end of a long canning day, is there? that’s such a satisfying thing. I can’t think of anything I’d can this fall. I just wanted to say bravo on all the canning you’ve done this summer. It’s helped inspire me to do more too.

  50. 50

    StephanieZ — September 10, 2010 @ 8:27 am

    Thanks for the great pickle recipe. I really want to learn how to can, preferably jam/jelly. I just turned 29 and learning how to can is on my 30 things to do by 30 list.

  51. 51

    Jill Moran — September 12, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

    I’ll be canning salsa. I’m hunting for a great recipe, chunky and not too cooked. I’ve got the organic tomatoes on order for pick-up later this week.

  52. 52

    Diana J. — September 13, 2010 @ 2:14 am

    I would love to try canning tomato sauce. I’d love to try pickling eggs…even though I’ve never even tried one before!

  53. 53

    karen day — September 13, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    I have canned tomatoes so far this year, and I hope to be making some hot pepper relish. Bell peppers are rather expensive, and we only grew hot peppers, so I hope we will get to make some. I have also frozen bushels of peaches, and put up bags of dried peaches and apples.

  54. 54

    Karen — September 23, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

    Is it too late to make the bread and butter pickles? I used to make them with my grandmother and would like to continue the tradition, but it has been some time. It seems to me that I am a bit late trying to do these? Any answers would be appreciated!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 23rd, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

      Hi Karen,

      It’s never too late! I just saw Kirby cukes last week at the Farmers’ Market. Depending on where you live, you may still be able able to find the smaller cukes to make pickles. See if you can find some and make some pickles! It will be worth your time. If you have any more questions, please end me another message.


      • Karen replied: — September 23rd, 2010 @ 11:04 pm

        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! Guess I know what I will be doing this weekend!

  55. 55

    Kulsum at JourneyKitchen — September 26, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

    OMG. this looks so good. I have never actually done this myself I wonder y I love them so much!

  56. 56

    Faye — September 26, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

    I want to can some tomato sauce from our abundance of tomatoes-I’ve only frozen it before, but my little deep freeze is full! I also want to try pickled beets. I used to make watermelon pickles with my Mom, but haven’t done any canning in years.

  57. 57

    Faye — September 26, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

    I follow bunkycooks on twitter @fayethorn

  58. 58

    Faye — September 26, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

    I tweeted about this contest.

  59. 59

    Faye — September 26, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

    I like bunkycooks on Facebook

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