Bread-and-butter pickles

A couple of years ago, a friend sent me a jar of pickles specific to his little area in Mississippi. I worried that I’d love them but wouldn’t have access to them. And then I’d be sad. And that’s exactly what happened.

These pickles were as sweet as bread-and-butter pickles, crunchy as could be and they had a surprise – a kick in the form of hot peppers. Sweet and spicy all in one crunchy pickle. I was addicted so, I figured out how to make these sweet-and-spicy pickles for myself.

The process is easy: cut a dried pepper in half (the kind of hot pepper that’s about the size of your pinkie finger) and drop it into a jar of store-bought sweet pickles. And … you’re done.

I make my own bread-and-butter pickles because I love the recipe and I think you will, too. I keep half of the jars plain old bread-and-butter pickles, then to the other half I add my hot peppers so I have a mixture of both sweet and sweet-and-spicy pickles in my fridge.

I also use whatever extra vegetables I have in my garden for making the pickles. Too many zucchini? Use those in this pickle recipe. Too many green beans? Use those too.

Cutting vegetables

It’s a great recipe for using up summer produce that you might just be getting sick of eating.

Classic Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe
(For 16 or so pint jars; halve the recipe for 8 pint jars.)

5 lb of “stuff” (cucumbers, zucchini, green beans … whatever)
2 onions (sliced)
1/4 cup salt (pickling, kosher or otherwise)
3 cups cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons celery seed
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon turmeric
16-32 small, dried hot chili peppers cut in half (optional)

  1. Slice your cucumbers. I like mine fairly thick – almost 1/4″.

  2. Combine your sliced cucumbers and onions in a bowl. Sprinkle with the ¼ cup of salt and toss. Mix in a tray of ice cubes and let sit for three hours. (This draws out the moisture from the cucumbers so they turn out crisper.)

  3. Rinse, rinse, rinse your cucumbers! Soak them in water and then rinse them again. You want to get rid of as much salt as possible; otherwise your pickles will taste too salty.

  4. Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, cloves and turmeric in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add your cucumber/onion mixture to the pot and return to the boil.

  5. Stuff your pickles into sterilized jars and pour the liquid over them until covered.

  6. If you want spicy pickles, this is the time to add your hot peppers. Per 500ml jar, add one for mildly hot pickles, two for hot pickles and three for dare-you-to-try-them pickles.

  7. Store in the fridge until you want to eat them. Try to wait a day or two; otherwise, they won’t have that great bread-and-butter pickle flavor.
Preparing the pickles

Text and photos by Karen Bertelsen

Karen Bertelsen is a Gemini Award nominated television host who has appeared on some of Canada's major networks including HGTV, W Network, Slice and MuchMoreMusic. She started the blog The Art of Doing Stuff ( as a creative outlet for her writing and endless home projects. The Art of Doing Stuff now receives over half a million views per month and has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Style at Home and Canadian Gardening magazines.

Tools for Preserving

EV412 - Set of 6 Non-Slip Flexible Cutting Mats

Non-Slip Flexible Cutting Mats

(Set of 6)


EM241 - Herb & Spice Infuser

Herb & Spice Infuser


EV256 - Fine-Mesh Ladle

Fine-Mesh Skimming Ladle


EV161 - Dissolvable Labels

Dissolvable Labels

(Pkg. of 120)


EM603 - Stainless-Steel Paring Knife

Portuguese Paring Knife


EV514 - Y-Peeler



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