Simple Bread and Butter Pickles Made From Garden Cucumbers

Cucumber on the vine
Cucumber on the vine

Now that the cucumbers are growing in my Florida garden, I was reminded of a simple bread and butter pickles recipe I found a few years ago. No canning was involved. Fortunately I was able to find my printed copy.  (Recipe Link Below)

I don’t do canning, but I love bread and butter pickles made with fresh from the garden cucumbers. These pickles are stored in mason jars (or any jar) but there is no boiling required. Slice and mix the six ingredients (and add some of your own) and store in the fridge.

Include sliced onion and green pepper for flavor. Garlic cloves and hot pepper slices may work as well. Other herbs could be added to change the flavor, like fennel and dill.

And by the way, you don’t need to use a specific type of cucumber.  I am growing two types, and I can’t remember what they are, but as you can see in my photo below, one type is very long!

The shorter, regular looking cukes taste better, but when making pickles it doesn’t matter.  There are many other ways to use fresh cucumbers from the garden.

Cucumbers and onion

The recipe calls for 7 cups of sliced cucumbers, so wait until you have a bunch to use up. Cukes don’t last long once they are picked, so plan to make pickles the day you pick the cucumbers.
A mandolin slicer makes all that slicing go fast.

Note:  One thing I changed in the recipe was the amount of sugar. The recipe calls for 2 cups, and I reduced that amount to 1 cup.  I also added a few slices of hot red pepper and fennel sprigs.

Spoon the mix into clean mason jars. Divide up the remaining liquid into the jars, cover and put in fridge for 5 days. Then begin eating!  They will be good for months.

mason jars
Clean mason jars

The full recipe can be found here: Mamaw’s Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles.

Thanksgiving Approaches and Here’s Our Dinner Plan

The image above is not from my dinner table but it contains all the necessary items for a decent Thanksgiving meal, in my humble opinion.

My son smokes the turkey on the grill. He just bought his favorite Jack Daniels Wood Smoking Chips which are made from old oak barrels that once held whiskey. The turkey was delicious last year, so I am leaving it up to him. 

This will be our second year together for the holidays and the guest count total is three!  Yes, it’s a small gathering.  So the focus is on the food.

Our dinner planning has begun. Turkey, stuffing and gravy are a given.  It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them.  Also high on the list is mashed potatoes, Acorn squash and rolls.  I don’t eat much bread these days, so I will most likely skip adding the rolls to my plate.

Personally I can’t eat any of it without cranberry sauce as an accompaniment.   Last year I made my own cranberry sauce and I will do so again this year.  I added the recipe to this blog so I would remember how to do it.

cranberry sauce
Boiling the cranberries

Another new thing I did last year was to make my own broth. I used the turkey innards / gizzards or whatever all that extra stuff is called that is packed inside a big frozen bird. The broth is used in place of water in gravy and stuffing. And boy does it make a difference in flavor! Any leftover would make an excellent soup stock too.

turkey stock broth
Making Stock

Many people already know to do all of this, but I didn’t grow up with a mother who was a good cook. Most of my life I had to make most of the Thanksgiving meal myself, for my husband and kids. We never had much family around. After all the cooking, serving and eating, I had the clean up.

Thanksgiving meals of old, back when I was growing up and tables had to be pushed together to seat all fo us, the menu was larger. Aunts and grandmothers slaved for days to bring their homemade specialties to the table. Boiled onions, turnips, carrots, homemade breads, and many pies and desserts we included. My grandmother made cookies called monkey faces. There were so many before-dinner appetizers I had to be careful not to fill up.

Our simple menu will also include apple pie which I will make.

I need to find some recipes for after Thanksgiving. Usually sandwiches and soup use up the leftovers nicely. This year we have a new refrigerator which means plenty of room for keeping the carcass until I can use it to make soup stock the next day.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Freezing Parsley For Winter Use

I grow parsley in my summer garden (New Hampshire) every year.  It’s a healthy herb that can be added to so many dishes.  It can be planted earlier than most crops, as it tolerates cold weather, and it will grow until it’s covered with snow.  I’ve had deer in my yard poking through an early snowfall just to pull up parsley to eat (my photo here).

Because it’s easy to grow, and the little plants take up very little garden space. IMO everyone should grow their own parsley!  My backyard garden is not large, but I always have around 6-12 parsley plants growing among my other vegetable plants.

parsley fresh flat leaf
Pixabay image

Parsley is Healthy

Parsley is good for overall health and is especially good for the kidneys as it acts as a diuretic to flush waste out of the body.  That link will take you to a page I wrote about the general overall benefits of growing  and eating parsley.  I mention a few ways to preserve it as winter approaches, and I’ve tried a couple.

I briefly covered how to freeze parsley because I was not too familiar with doing it personally.  But last year I discovered how easy it was to not only preserve it by freezing, but how easy it was to use it later on.

This is how I freeze my fresh picked parsley.  Always pick parsley by the stem and use the largest outside stems first.  This will cause the plant to continue to send out new stems from the middle of the plant.  I pick just a few stems – 6 or 7- to preserve by the amount I plan to use each time.  I like to use a lot of parsley in my meals.

Preparing the Fresh Parsley

Wash the leaves by dunking them in a bowl of water.  Hold the stems and swish the leaves until all dirt and debris is removed.  Use a clean towel to remove most of the water.  I ‘slap’ the leaves on the towel a few times.  Put the parsley, still on the stems, into a jar or vase until the leaves dry completely.  That shouldn’t take long.

Once the parsley is dry, line a cutting board or the counter with saran wrap, or freezer wrap.  Pull off the leafy part of the plants and pile them up on the saran.  Gather all the leaves in a bunch and roll them up.  Just keep rolling and gathering the ones that escape, until you have a nice, fairly tight roll of greens.

Wrap the saran or freezer paper tightly around your roll, and add it to the freezer.  I wrap mine in saran, and then place all the little parsley rolls in one quart size freezer bag which I label with name and date.

This is the basis for freezing.  If you have a lot of parsley and want to freeze more together in a bigger roll, or want to freeze individual portions, that is up to you.  It can be unwrapped and sliced once frozen, so you don’t have to use the entire roll.

Drying Fresh Parsley to Preserve

I also dried a bunch of parsley last year using my dehydrator.  That was a much more time-consuming method, but it works as well.