While not a traditional recipe from our Ukrainian past, this recipe is a Canadian export (or import, depending on your location) it may very likely become a tradition for future generations of Ukrainians!
Judy introduced these yummy pickles to her relatives and their neighbours in the summer of 2005. It was an exceptionally hot summer and her relatives were preparing for a family wedding. That included, of course, food.
When her cousin was at her wits’ end with yet another batch of cukes from her very prolific garden, Judy replicated her favourite recipe for bread and butter pickles. The pickles were, she recalls, a huge hit at the wedding.
That comes as no surprise to me whatsoever. I tried her recipe and it is out of this world easy to make, and utterly delicious! I only had about 5 lbs of cukes leftover (they were too big to dill) but had I known how good these bread & butter pickles would be, I’d have ordered 100 lbs of cukes instead of just 80. Well, there’s always next year!
You can experiment with this recipe, it’s quite flexible. Try adding cauliflower broken into flowerets, sliced blanched carrots, any colour of bell peppers, pearl onions, even zucchini.
What I did for variation, in addition to following this recipe, was cukes with no onion (by accident) and I also sealed some. Each taste slightly different, although are all yummy. To seal, what I did was reserve some of the brine, added cukes and onions and returned to a boil, then packed into hot jars and sealed. I thought what nice gifts these pickles in pint sealers would make … but I only did 3 and one is already gone, so I’m not sharing! (Next year … maybe.)
In the meantime, here is Judy’s recipe for Refrigerator Bread & Butter Pickles:
You will need a gallon container (you can use an ice cream pail, but I just used a couple of big jars). You’ll need about 5 lbs of cucumbers, 3 medium onions, and 1 red pepper, if desired.
Wash cucumbers thoroughly. Do not peel. Cut into thin slices. Slice onions and chop red peppers. In a large container, combine cucumbers, onions, peppers and ¼ cup of pickling salt. Let stand for 3-4 hours or overnight.
For the brine, you will need 4 cups of sugar, 4 cups of vinegar, and 1 ½ teaspoons each of ground turmeric, whole celery seed, and whole mustard seed. Bring to a boil, and boil for five minutes until all sugar is dissolved. Cool.
In the meantime, drain cucumbers, onions, and peppers, and rinse well. (I didn’t rinse mine.) Put into your ice cream pail, pour the cooled brine over vegetables, and refrigerate. Keeps nice and crisp for months in the fridge, but they’ll be ready to eat the next day.