Gifts from the Kitchen

December 11,2008
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

If the word “canning” conjures up images of your grandma in a steamy-windowed kitchen all day mixing chemistry and culinary arts, I am about to challenge your notion of it.

Up until last year I was weary of canning, as I thought it would require a whole bunch of equipment and items that I didn’t want cluttering up my kitchen.  Lo and behold, canning can be done with normal, everyday items, without a huge fuss.

The recipe below is for pickles I tasted over the summer, when I was visiting my aunt and uncle.  The pickles were fabulous, and my aunt and uncle told me, “This is Ann’s recipe.”  Every family should have an “Ann.”  Ann is my dad’s cousin and she is a whiz in the kitchen. She also happens to be a former home economics teacher, so she has an answer for just about any domestic question you can think of. 

Ann’s recipe requires nothing special other than canning jars, which can be easily purchased at many grocery stores and craft stores.

Ann’s Bread and Butter Pickles

1 large cucumber, sliced to 1/4 inch thickness (about 2 cups)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric*

Mix all ingredients in a 2-quart glass bowl.  Microwave the bowl on high for 8 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water and place your jars in the water to sterilize.  Turn the jars in the water to ensure that all surfaces have some time in the boiling water. Carefully drain and remove the jars immediately, before you are ready to fill them with the cucumber mixture.

Ladle the cucumber and sauce into the glass jars.  Cover, cool for a few minutes and then refrigerate. 

As the cans cool, the “bump” on the lid should flatten, so if you press on it, you don’t have any movement.  If the bump is still there, even after bring fully cooled, just be sure to keep the pickles in the refrigerator.

This recipe makes about 1 quart of pickles.  Do not double this recipe -- you have to keep each batch the same size as the original recipe.

SPC 

*Tumeric stains...so please make sure your apron is handy.