Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Peck of Pickled Peppers . . .

Historically, I'm not much of a canner.  I've canned tomatoes, chili sauce, spaghetti sauce and salsa - to varying degrees of success.  This year, we have made chili sauce and salsa and both have turned out great, so we decided to try our hand at pickles.

If you're not familiar with Famous Dave's, it's a BBQ chain that also sells their pickles and sauces in grocery stores.  Their sweet pickles have a spicy kick  - and they are our favorites - so we wanted a recipe that would be similar.  We found a very close copy from Martha Stewart.  I'm so happy with the way they came out, I thought I would share Martha's recipe for other potential picklers out there.   Although Martha says one recipe makes three pint jars, we tripled the recipe and ended up with 15 well-packed pint jars.

Martha Stewart's Sweet-and-Spicy Bread-and-Butter Pickles

2 pounds cucumbers, cut in 1/8" thick rounds (about 6 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 heaping tablespoons coarse salt
2 c. ice cubes
3 c. cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 t. whole mustard seeds
3/4 t. celery seed
3/4 t. whole black peppercorns
1/4 t. turmeric (I omitted)
1/4 t. crushed red-pepper flakes or 3 dried hot chiles.  (I used approxiately 3 times that amount of pepper flakes and Dave still thinks it could use more.)

To draw out excess liquid and increase crunch, toss cucumbers and onion with salt in a large colander.  Add ice and toss again.  Place over a bowl and refrigerate, tossing occasionally, for 3 hours.  Drain.  Rinse well and drain again.

Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds, peppercorns, turmeric and pepper flakes to a boil in a saucepan.  Add cucumbers and onions.  Return to a boil.

Ladle into 3 hot sterilized pint jars, leaving about 1/2 inch below each jar's neck.  Wipe rims of jars with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly with sterilized lids and screw tops.  Using tongs or a jar clamp, transfer jars to a rack in a large canning pot or other large, deep pot filled with hot water, being sure to keep jars upright at all times.  Jars should be spaced 1 inch apart and should not touch sides of pot.  Cover with water by 1 inch. Cover pot, and bring to a boil.  Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Let Cool. Press down on each lid.  If lid pops back, it's not sealed; refrigerate unsealed jars immediately and use within 1 month.  Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

This recipe can also be used with summer squash.  Follow the same procedure except do not return brine to a boil after adding squash. 

We tried three jars of squash, just out of curiosity. Not as crunchy as the cucumbers, but not bad and a great way to use the mountains of summer squash we had.

Happy pickling!


  1. These look good. I am Saving this recipe. Have you pickled radishes? I have soooooo many right now I am considering pickling them.

  2. These sound really tasty. I have never done any canning.

  3. Yum bread and butter pickles! Love them!

  4. Sounds yummy. My husband and I were just talking about pickles today. Unfortunately, we didn't get as many cucumbers from our garden as I hoped. We've been eating them just as they are. We are going to try again next year. If we get more, I'll try some canning. I'll have to keep this recipe in mind. Enjoy yours!

  5. I haven't done pickles in years; I only ever did sweet pickles, though, and my hubby would sure like what you've done! I didn't even know you could do squash the same way.