MANY readers responded to Pat Kunderman's request for a straightforward bread and butter pickle recipe. Thanks so much to Sandra Hickey, Mary Stoyko, LeBeau Jakobson, Sheila Malkin, Mary Enright, Linda Snider, Headingley's Janice Shirtliffe, and Beausejour's Edna Mroz. Many readers sent in old and cherished family recipes, one going back to the 1945 edition of The Purity Cookbook.
Theresa Bear's bread and butter pickles are easy to make, while Dawn McDonald offers a fast freezer version. Please note that I don't have room to go into all the instructions necessary for canning safety, so novice canners should consult a comprehensive source. The Complete Preserving Book from Canadian Living is very good.
This week we have several swapper requests. Patricia Nairne would love a recipe for homemade baked beans. Chrissy Hasse would like to make a beet salad like the one served at Culture's. And Laura Kaner-Isaak is looking for a recipe that appeared a few years ago in the Free Press for a cold mushroom salad with celery, red onions and a sweet, clear dressing. Her mother-in-law used to make it for her birthday, but the recipe has been lost. Any ideas? If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
Bread and butter pickles
2.8 L (about 12 cups) sliced unpared cucumbers
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
750 ml (3 cups) vinegar
1.2 L (5 cups) white sugar
2 ml (1/2 tsp) turmeric
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) celery seeds
45 ml (3 tbsp) mustard seeds
In a large kettle, put cucumbers and garlic. Sprinkle salt and a layer of ice cubes over top and let sit 3 hours. Drain and rinse well in cold water and set aside. In kettle, combine vinegar, sugar, spice and seeds and bring to a boil. Add cucumbers and remove from heat. Do not boil cucumbers. Pack mixture in sterilized jars and seal. (Please see canning cookbook for full instructions on canning safety.)
Tester's notes: Some recipes let the iced cucumbers sit overnight, which makes them extra crisp. I used pickling cucumbers and liked the texture, though you can use regular cukes.
This makes a nice sweet pickle.
Freezer bread and butter pickles
1.7 L (7 cups) sliced unpared cucumbers, about 4 large
250 ml (1 cup) sliced white onion
250 ml (1 cup) chopped green pepper
12 ml (2 heaping tsp) pickling salt
500 ml (2 cups) white sugar
250 ml (1 cup) vinegar
15 ml (1 tbsp) mustard seed
15 ml (1 tbsp) celery seed
In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, onion and pepper. Sprinkle with pickling salt and let stand two hours. (Do not add water.) Drain and rinse well. In a medium pot, combine sugar, vinegar and seeds and bring to a boil. Pour over cucumber mixture. Freeze batches using glass or plastic containers, up to two months. Thaw in the fridge.
Tester's notes: Freezer preserves are fast and easy, and I liked the fresh flavour of these pickles. I used red pepper instead of green, but you can leave it out altogether if you like. I know Pat was looking for a recipe without a lot of extras.