Bread & Butter Cucumbers

All winter, Australian winter that is, I’ve been reading about people making dill pickles, refrigerator cukes, etc etc etc as the northern hemisphere enjoyed summer.  Well today it is my turn, today I will share with you the most fabulous, the most terrific, the most wonderful pickled cucumber recipe ever!  Yes I know its a big call and these things a very much a matter of personal taste, so perhaps I should call it the pickled cucumber recipe that I find most fabulous, most terrific and most wonderful.  My mother likes it too though and that should count for something right?

Anyway the spicing in this recipe borrows from a recipe in Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion (a book that narrowly missed my Top 5).  It is a recipe from her sister who, as Stephanie reports, grows great cucumbers.  Perhaps she lives near me because of all the things I grow I find cucumbers one of the most troublefree (touch wood).

This recipe makes about 800ml worth of pickles, double it, triple it, quadruple it, or make a series of batch as I do, as they keep for ages – we ate our last jar in September from a January batch (we only still had it because it found its way to the back of the cupboard) and they tasted great.  My kids love these too so they don’t last too long in our house usually.

Bread & Butter Cucumbers

  • 500g cucumbers – not too big ideally.  I use the Lebanese ones that are about 15cm long and they work brilliantly.  Slice the cucumbers thinly.
  • 1 large or 2 smaller onions – thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tblspn salt
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp chopped dill
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes

Dissolve the salt in the water, if it doesn’t dissolve you may need to heat the water on the stove.  Put the cucumbers and onion into a large bowl, pour on the salty water and leave for a few hours.  Strain off the liquid.  Rinse the cucumbers under running water to remove excess salt.  Strain again pressing down to remove as much liquid as possible.

Place vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, dill, turmeric and chilli into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil.  Add cucumber & onions.  Simmer for a couple of minutes – they will lose some of their beautiful greenness but dont worry they still taste great.  Bottle in sterlised jars ensuring that the vinegar liquid completely covers the cucumbers.  Try to keep them for a few weeks before using them to allow the flavours to mellow.

For other Thursday Kitchen Cupboard ideas check out the Gardener of Eden’s site.

This entry was posted in Cucurbits, Recipes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Bread & Butter Cucumbers

  1. L says:

    Thanks Liz. I’ve been waiting for this recipe since you hinted at it earlier in the week. I will make these once my ‘double yield’ and ‘lebanese’ cucumbers come into full production. At the moment I’m just inundated with crystal apple cucumbers, which I’m not sure would work so well here.

    • Liz says:

      I’ve only ever tried it with the Lebanese types so I’m not too sure about others. I hope you like it! If you remember let me know what you think.

  2. Sounds tasty but must admit we don’t produce enough cucumbers to pickle – I wonder would it work with courgettes as we usually substitute these in picalilli

    • Liz says:

      Hmmm, interesting idea – I think if I was going to try I would cut the zucchini really really thinly and perhaps it may work – i’m not a big zucchini fan so I don’t have a huge amount of experience pickling them.

  3. Veggiegobbler says:

    If only I could get some cucumbers to grow! I have one teeny seedling that has survived the snails – and I have great plans for it.

    • Liz says:

      I think you could probably still plant more if you wanted to – funnily enough I’m really enjoying eating cucumber at the moment so I sowed some more seed last week.

  4. Robin says:

    This recipe is different then the one that I use. The addition of dill and chili flakes…that’s different. I’m going to have to copy this and give it a try this year.

    • Liz says:

      I have to say I do like both the dill and the chilli – dill I just like with cucumber & the chilli just lifts it a bit somehow.

  5. kitsapFG says:

    That sounds like a great recipe! I snagged it to hang on to it until our late summer season arrives and I have cucumbers to do something with.

  6. Rick says:

    Thanks Liz,
    This sounds like a great recipe I will give it a try once the ground thaws and I can actually grow cucumbers. Making my own pickles has been on my list for a couple of years now and I haven’t gotten around to it. This year will be the year!!!

    • Liz says:

      I have to say I don’t make that many pickles – just cucumber, beetroot and the occasional chutney – but I absolutely love the ones I do make.

  7. Wilderness says:

    Sounds good. Similar to my recipe except for the dill. I put a small hot dried pepper in each jar as I can it.

  8. Mark Willis says:

    Why are they called “Bread and Butter” cucumbers? Is it because they are supposedly very commonplace?
    As it happens, I don’t like pickled cucumbers or gherkins (I always scrape the pickles off my burger when I have one). It’s probably becuae of the Dill, which you knowI detest.

    • Liz says:

      I’ve always presumed that it is because traditionally they were eaten with bread and butter. You can buy jars of Bread & Butter cucumbers here, I can’t remember if they were called that in the UK – an Australian thing perhaps….as for scraping pickles off your burger what are you doing?? – thats the only edible bit (well it is in place where you have little say in what goes into the burger anyway…). Funnily enough I made burgers for the first time in ages last week and I had not only Bread & Butter Cucumber but also pickled beetroot in mine – delicious!!!!

  9. Mrs.Pickles says:

    Yummy recipe. I must admit I do love pickles!

  10. Dave says:

    I love bread and butter pickles. My recipe is similar, though I see you add some chili to yours, as well as dill. I’ll have to try your version later on when I have cucumbers!

  11. Leanne says:

    I’m not big on pickles, but the rest of the family is. My husband won’t eat cucumbers but will eat gherkins, so I might actually have to have a go at this, and like you, I seem to have no trouble growing cucumbers. Thanks

  12. Norma Chang says:

    I need to plant more cucumber this year to try your recipe. Will it work for beets also or you have a different pickled beet recipe?

    • Liz says:

      With my beets I completely cook them, slice them then immerse them in a slightly sugared vinegar flavoured with cloves, mustard seeds, chilli, salt and a bit of cinnamon and then they go in the fridge. I can grow beets year round so don’t need to preserve them more than that generally, although I do make chutney with them – the recipe for the chutney you should be able to find on the recipe index on the blog.

  13. Kerri says:

    This recipe looks great….I am going to try it tommorow as we have a great supply of cucumbers this year! Can you tell me – do you use cider vinegar or white vinegar? Is there a great difference? It seems that most use cider vinegar and i have never done pickling before….. Thanks for sharing recipes….

    • Liz says:

      Hi Kerri, I usually use cider vinegar but it depends what I have on hand, normal white vinegar works fine too, and is cheaper. I love this recipe i have to say, I have heaps of cukes this year and have made 12 jars so far and plan to do some more tomorrow.

  14. Pingback: Around the garden « Foodnstuff

  15. Pingback: Cucumber Pickles |

  16. Maree says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe, sounds great. I did a batch tonight and wondered if the sweetness diminishes a bit once settled for a few weeks and whether or not I can expect any crunch. They look great I must admit and flavour apart from sweetness is lovely. Can’t wait to crack a jar in a couple of weeks!

    • Liz says:

      Crunch – hmm yeah – kind of. They certainly aren’t as flacid than the stop bought ones I’ve tried – i just went to the fridge and tasted some from the latest batch (which I didn’t leave for long enough before opening) and there is a definite crunch – not as crunchy as a fresh cuke of course but still crunchy. As for the sweetness – they are still pretty sweet after settling – and i have to admit to liking my pickles with a bit of suger, for instance I find pickled onions a bit too tart for my palate. Having said that yes I do think it mellows with the bottling so the flavours should round off a bit and most people i have give these to don’t find the sugar too much. I will be interested to know what you think.

  17. Pingback: My new kitchen! | Around The Mulberry Tree

  18. Pingback: Harvest Monday – 9th September 2013500m2 in Sydney | 500m2 in Sydney

  19. flowerpress says:

    I made some bread and butter pickles this weekend, and have made extra to give away.
    They are delicious! Thank you for the recipe.
    My only query is that while I made sure that the vinegar covered the pickles, they seem to have expanded now to sit proud of the liquid.
    I got paranoid and resterilised and rebottled them with extra vinegar and then left them upside down overnight while hot, but it seems that a few are doing it again.
    Does this ever happen with yours?

    • Liz says:

      I had a look at the few remaining jars in my cupboard and no it hasn’t happened to mine. I’m not sure what would cause it. But I will tell you how I do the bottling stage and perhaps you will notice a difference that may explain it.

      Once the cukes have been simmered in the hot liquid I use tongs to move the cucumber and onions to glass jars – I use normal jam jar size jars and fill them pretty close to the top. I then ladle liquid into the jar to cover the cucumbers and seal. Whilst I wouldn’t say I pack the cucumbers in tightly I do put quite a lot in each jar, and I do fill the jar pretty much to the top. Some may rise a little but its difficult to see through the lid. If you are doing much the same and following the rest of the recipe then I am a little stumped as to why yours rise and mine don’t.

      The other thing I’m not sure about is how much it actually matters whether or not they are completely covered. I imagine it depends on how long you plan to keep them. If you are worried perhaps keep the jars where they have risen in the fridge. They seem to keep opened in the fridge for ages (I find half eaten jars periodically) so I would have thought they would keep well when sealed.

  20. flowerpress says:

    Thanks for that 🙂
    It wouldn’t worry me but I want to give some extras away.
    I ended up boiling the jars for 20 minutes and found they sealed a little better, the lids popped down, so hopefully that will help.
    I’m sure the vinegar/sugar solution will protect them anyway, I’m probably being too paranoid, I never worry so much about my chutneys or jams.

    • Liz says:

      I completely understand your paranoia – I have done batches of olives only to throw them out at 3am when I wake up dreaming about botulism poisoning.

  21. Pingback: Musing about Preserves – (Carmelised) Onion Jam | Suburban Tomato

  22. Looks like a great recipe, Liz. I will try it when I can grow cucumbers again. Bread and butter pickles are one of my wife’s favorites, right after gherkins, and great with a grilled cheese sandwich. The term “bread and butter pickle” is commonly used in the US and I would have thought it was a traditional American recipe, but obviously not. I haven’t seen a convincing explanation of the origin of the name, but who cares if they taste good.

  23. Pingback: Know when to call it quits! | Around The Mulberry Tree

  24. Pingback: Capsicum glut | Foodnstuff

  25. Allister Wade says:

    Almost 4KG of Apple and Lemon Cucumber when cooked up (recipe x8) came to 5 normal jars and one extra large jar full. Probably should have stretched further with more liquid per jar I guess but we’ll see how goes.

  26. Pingback: Cucumbers | Foodnstuff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *