I’ve been making jam for years and have made the occasional chutney along the way. However, I’m not really a jam or chutney eater so I always end up with a ton of jars and try to fob them off on my family. I wanted to try canning, it seems more useful than 15 jars of jam and creates things like pasta sauce and salsa that I would actually use.
I bought Food in Jars when it came out and for Christmas I got a canning set and some jars. Unfortunately the only Kilner jars that my parents could get hold of are really big and I don’t have a pan tall enough for them. A few months back I found smaller jars on sale in Sainsburys so I got some 500ml and 250ml (I went back for more but apparently the locals are big on canning as they all gone in a few days). After collecting cucumbers from the organic box for a few weeks I had enough to make pickles, and not being able to find dill seed (still can’t find it, anyone seen it anywhere?) I went with the Bread and Butter pickles instead.
I’ve not had onion and pepper in my bread and butter pickles before but I decided not to mess with the recipe the first time out.
I used my jam pan to boil the jars in, or rather I tried to use my jam pan. It is an absolutely huge pan and very wide at the top which meant that getting it to boil when full of water was almost impossible. I didn’t think I’d managed to get a seal on the jars and was a bit annoyed by it but they did seal.
The recipe calls for ‘pickling salt’ which I’ve never heard of or seen. Looking at the blog for this book there is a post about substituting different salts for pickling salt, basically you need 3/4 oz of salt per 1 Tbsp of pickling salt called for. I used Maldon in this and it worked fine.
The recipe says that you will get 5 500ml jars from this recipe but I only got 3. I don’t know if this is because organic produce is smaller than non-organic or UK produce is smaller than US (although I weighed the cucumbers and they were only a little under what was called for). My jars are quite tightly packed but still have the right amount of room at the top and I used almost all of the vinegar to fill the jars so I’m not sure what happened there. I’m not upset that I didn’t get 5 though as I don’t eat pickles all the time and I don’t actually have anywhere to store that many jars in this house, plus I bought this book because I wanted to do small batch canning. The only odd thing about this recipe is that there is a ton of mustard seeds, as you can see from the photos. I will see how they age and whether it’s annoying and maybe reduce the amount next time.
The recipe also calls for red pepper flakes and I was worried about adding them as I don’t like things too hot. However it gives the pickles a nice heat and I’m glad I did put it in. I gave one of the jars to my American Dad to try and he loved them, as do I. They’re really tasty and have a nice crunch, I will definitely be making these again once I’ve got a proper stock pot. I really want to find one soon as I’d love to try some more canning, it was fun!