I come from a long line of canning fanatics and that is a good thing. As I spoke with my sister last week, she told of her summer days hovering over jars filled with all kind of garden produce that will be enjoyed throughout the year. Quarts and pints of every vegetable imaginable. And as I thought of her, it reminded me I had not posted this recipe for a most delightful sweet pickle which I put up almost a month ago.
The recipe is from our dear Aunt Tac, a distant cousin actually to my Grandmother Elsie Lee who both resided in Greenville AL. She called them Sweet Pickles but around our house we did and still do refer to 'em as Bread and Butter, cause that is what they taste like. To my knowledge, sweet pickles uses spices like cloves, cinnamon and allspice whereas bread n butter ones do not. Hers is a tried and true recipe that produces a sweet, crisp pickle with a twangy hint of spiced vinegar that makes this type of pickle so darn well liked by many. As the saying goes, 'you can't eat just one.'
Aunt Tac's Sweet Pickles
makes about 8 pints
- 4 quarts or about 7 pounds pickling cucumbers
- 2 large white onions
- 1/3 cup pickling salt
- 2 quarts crushed ice
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large garlic cloves, halved
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons celery sead
- 2 tablespoons mustard seed
- 3 cups distilled vinegar (5% acid)
- 1 cup cider vinegar
Wash and clean the cucumbers and cut into slightly larger than quarter-inch slices. Do not cut too thin as you want them to have a good, crisp bite after setting in the brine. Peel onions and slice vertical into half-inch sections. Place in a large bowl and toss with the salt. Top with the ice, cover with a kitchen towel and let set for 3 hours.
Meantime, begin heating water in your canner and sterilize jars, lids, etc. After the 3 hours, the ice should be melted. Toss the cukes and onions in the water to free up some of the salt and drain really well in a colander.
Combine sugar with remaining ingredients in a large kettle or pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the cucumber mixture to the pot and bring brine almost to a simmer. Do not let boil. Pack the hot jars with the cuke mixture and distribute the spices evenly. Make sure a piece of garlic is in each jar. Top with additional distilled vinegar if needed leaving quarter-inch head space. Be sure to wipe the top of the jar clean before placing on the lid. Process in water bath for 12 minutes.
Note: Aunt Ida made a Spiced Sweet Pickle similar to this recipe by adding 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.