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Culinary Class: TLP’s Bread and Butter Pickles

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The South’s Bread And Butter

Written by Lia Grabowski | Photography by Jonathan Boncek

Sweet pickles preserved in tradition

From watermelon rind to pig’s feet, plenty of quirky pickles can be found below the Mason-Dixon, but there’s nothing like the crunch and tang of a pickled cucumber to punch up a sandwich or midnight snack. The sweet pickle is a Southern staple, a legacy from back in the day when sugar was used as preservative in the South’s sweltering climate. It’s worth a trip to your farmers market to find just-picked Kirby cucumbers—the fresher the cuke, the better the pickle. For crisper pickles, slice cucumbers ¼-inch or thicker and choose pint jars instead of quart-size. (The smaller the jar, the shorter the processing time, and the more crunch you’ll keep.) Stick to kosher, canning, or pickling salt to avoid cloudiness in the brine and discoloration of the vegetables. After processing jars in boiling water, keep them upside-down for about 12 hours while cooling for a strong seal.  With proper canning, which halts bacteria growth and allows for safe food storage, pickles will keep unopened in your cupboard for months. For a quicker option, skip the water bath altogether for ready-to-go refrigerator pickles.

Ingredients

• 15 Kirby or pickling cucumbers

• 1 small Vidalia onion

• 2 tablespoons kosher salt

• 2 cups white vinegar

• 1 cup apple cider vinegar

• 1½ cups sugar

• ¼ teaspoon turmeric

• ¼ teaspoon minced fresh ginger

• ½ teaspoon celery seeds

• 1½ tablespoons mustard seeds