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Liz's Bread and Butter Pickles

Liz's Bread and Butter Pickles

These are the best pickles ever! They're based on the famous Cornersmith recipe (we're huge fans of the famous cafe and picklery - their books are legendary amongst 'use it all' fans like us). Makes 2 x 500ml Bormioli Rocco jars.


1kg slim cucumbers*
4tsp salt**
500ml white wine vinegar
110g castor sugar
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1 small brown or red onion, thinly sliced
1.5tsp yellow mustard seeds
1tsp fennel or coriander seeds
1tsp dill seeds
1tsp chilli flakes (optional)
6-8 black peppercorns


Using a mandoline, food processor with slicing blade, or your trusty (and ultra sharp) knife, slice cucumbers in neat rounds. Go for approximately 2mm (about the thickness of a coin) - too slim and they tear when you're packing them and too thick and they are 'too much' to layer on a burger etc.

Pile the cucumber rounds into a large ceramic or glass bowl, sprinkle with the salt, mix gently to distribute the salt evenly then leave to sit (covered) overnight. This will help draw out the excess liquid from your cukes helping them pickle more effectivly and to stay a little crisper.

Next day, start by sterilising your jars. Try to time this so that you have hot jars avialable for when your cucumber mixture is ready to pack.

Next up: make your pickling brine. Put the vinegar, castor sugar, tumeric and 1 cup of water into a stainless steel saucepan (avoid aluminium or copper cookware here as they can react with the vinegar) and place over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar then bring to the boil and let it bubble away for 5 minutes.

Now for the cucumbers: add your finely sliced onion to the cucumbers along with your spices and gently mix them all through. Take your time here - gently but thoroughly does it so that your cucumbers emerge fully coated but not looking like they're half chewed already!

As mentioned above, the ideal situation is cucumbers and hot, sterilised jars ready at the same time. Using clean hands or mini tongs begin packing your jars with the cucumber mixture. Try to distribute the onions and spices evenly. Pack your jars well but resist the temptation to over pack as your brine needs to reach every slice of cucumber. Leave a 1 inch gap between the top of your pickles and the top of the jar. 

Carefully pour your hot brine into your jars to cover the pickles. Now, this is the really important part. You need to ensure that there are not air bubbles sitting in your jars. A couple of things can come in handy here: a clean chopstick, a clean butterknife and a specialist packing stick. Gently insert your weapon of choice down the sides of the jars, easing the pickles away from the sides and releasing any air bubbles. A couple of gently taps on the bench can also help here. Once you're sure your pickles are completely submerged in brine (and with no pesky air bubbles) wipe the rims of your jars with a paper towel moistened with vinegar (to ensure a completely clean seal) and then screw on your jar lids (just to finger tight - do not over tighten your jars here as they need to be able to expand/contract with the bottling process).

Heat process jars for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave them to sit for a further 5 minutes before safely lifting them out (with jar tongs) and transfering them to a wooden board or tea towel (to reduce the risk of thermal shock). 

Leave to cool, undisturbed (apart from your adoring gaze), overnight until completely cooled.

These pickles are best left for a good couple of weeks to develop their flavour but, honestly, you can get stuck into them straight away as they'll continue to improve.

* most recipes specify baby or Lebanese cucumbers. And they do give a lovely finished product. But, let's face it, ordinary telegraph cucumbers are often what's available so that's what we're wanting to use. And they're just as good. See if you can select the slimmest cucumbers from the pile - and make sure that they're totally free of marks, blemishes and signs of damage. 

** Go for a natural sea salt without additives like iodine and anti-caking agents etc. We really like the Mrs Rogers and Ceres ranges. 


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