Bread & Butter Pickle
or Cucumber Relish! During the summer months when my cucumbers are expanding and multiplying like Triffids, this is an amazing recipe which makes use of cheap ingredients and tastes delicious. Truly, it is one of the tastiest pickles I know and it's super easy to make. I don't know why recipe books say 'put it in the fridge and eat within two weeks' as I have kept some of my jars for two years and it is still beautifully preserved. For anyone that is interested, versions of this recipe came about in America during the depression as the recipe makes use of low cost but high availability ingredients. Some say this pickle is great sandwiched between two layers of buttered bread and I would have to agree - it is treat. We also enjoy it with cheeses and cold meats. Other sources date back to 1923 when a certain Mrs Fanning bartered her homemade cucumber pickle for loaves of bread & pats of butter from her local shop. Whilst the origins of B&B pickle are elusive it certainly has a firm place in our store cupboard I know it is difficult to believe that an essentially watery cucumber can make such a good pickle, but please do try it especially if, like me, you have a glut of cucumbers. 44 at the last count!
For the pickle....
4 whole cucumbers or 8 mini ones as here, sliced very thinly or use a mandolin
2 - 3 onions - thinly sliced
Place these into a bowl with a tablespoon of cooking salt. Mix together and leave overnight or for a few hours in the fridge. When you are ready to make the pickle rinse off the salt and drain the cucumber, onion mix.
For the pickling liquid...
Combine the following ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, simmer for 5 - 10 mins. It should start to thicken just a little.
300ml cider vinegar
130g caster sugar
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds -or a combination of seeds such as black onion, pink peppercorns etc
1 tsp celery salt
Sometimes I add caraway seeds or fennel seeds instead or as well it just depends what's in the cupboard!
Pack the cucumber & onion mix into sterilised jars and add the pickling liquid to the top to cover the veg. do not be tempted to push the cucumbers down too much - they should have a bit of room to move and absorb all those lovely juices.
Label up as usual, give it a few weeks to mature and then tuck in.