It has been so long since there was a "normal" day around here that I don't know if I would even recognize one if it came along! How does life get so crazy? Ok, don't answer that because I am sure the answer would involve "downsizing" and spending less time with my animals!
Mike brought home about a bushel of cucumbers and Wednesday evening I started working on them around 9 pm. I finally got them all sliced, the onions sliced, added the salt and garlic and covered them with two inches of crushed ice. Everyone has always raved about my Bread and Butter pickles and I just can't keep enough jars on hand!
Thursday morning I was feeling pretty good about the fact that I had the puppies fed at 4 am and then the cows milked at 6am and I was moving right along with my day. Well that all came to a screeching halt. I am really not quite sure how it happened but somewhere between getting the milk out to the shareholders who were picking it up, feeding the pups, and life in general the morning got away from me. I finally got back to making my pickles only to have the brine boil up and over the top of the pot and all over the top of my flat top stove. The brine erupted like a volcanoe and the vinegar and sugar mix heavy with mustard seeds covered the stove top and ran down instantly onto the floor. I tried to grab the pot but with the boiling mass rolling over the sides, I could not grab it without scalding myself. I knew Mike was outside and I started yelling for him about the time the mixture on the stove top burst into flames. Somehow, he managed to move the pot without scalding himself and the flames died down without any further effort on our part to put them out. I was pretty overwhelmed at this point and an hour past due feeding the pups, so I just left everything and went to feed the babies. After listening to the disfuctional stories on Judge Joe Brown and Judge Judy (something I never did in the middle of the day before "the babies" arrived) , changing soiled blankets and putting my babies back to bed, I headed upstairs to clean up my mess. What a mess it was! I scrubbed for an hour on my stove top and finally at least got it to the point that I could use it again, although all the trauma left permanent scars on the finish. Finally, almost 24 hours after I began the process, I finally had twelve jars of Bread and Butter pickles to show for it all!
Bread and Butter Pickles
4 quarts of sliced cucumbers
8 medium white onions sliced
1/3 cup pickling salt
3 cloves of garlic halved
4 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
2 tbs mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 1/2 tsp celery seed
In a 8 quart stainless steel bowl combine first four ingredients and cover with two inches of cracked ice. Cover with lid and refrigerate for 3-12 hours. Remove any remaining ice. Drain well in a large colander. Remove garlic.
In a kettle combine the rest of the ingredients. Heat to boiling. Add cucumber mixture.
Pack hot cucumber mixture and liquid into hot strilized pint canning jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process for 10 minutes.