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Aunt Edith’s Bread and Butter Pickles

August 11, 2020

Yummy and versatile Bread and Butter Pickles

I could have sworn (but that wouldn’t have made my mother happy) that I had shared my husband’s Aunt Edith Mitchell’s awesome recipe for making a particular kind of bread and butter pickles that include onions plus sliced green and red peppers in the mix. It’s the one pickle that I make almost every year, to keep my shelves stocked with a go-to base which I must have in making both potato salad and deviled eggs.

Cooking the cucumbers, onion, red or orange sweet peppers until they cucumbers change to a brighter green is always fun.

So I searched my blog and it was nowhere to be found.

Here we’ll correct that oversight. And by the way, another pickle canning recipe for Sweet Midget Pickles on my blog is currently the most popular blog post here. It brings scores of new visitors to my blog every day and is keeping my stats up all summer long. In fact, recipes are my bread and butter for this site—the top 7 or 8 view-getters here. Not that you really care. But it (and they) make me happy. (And see my background story for this recipe at the end.)

Aunt Edith’s Bread and Butter Pickles

1 gallon medium size cucumbers
8 small white onions
1 green pepper
1 sweet red pepper
½ cup salt
cracked or crushed ice (about 4-6 cups)
3-4 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 Tablespoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons celery seed
3 cups apple cider vinegar

Slice cukes (just leave peeling on), onions, and peppers (in strips). Cover with cracked ice and salt in large stainless steel bowl (could be ceramic or glass, not plastic). To make cracked ice, I put ice cubes in a pillow case or sturdy plastic bag and put on garage floor (or other cement surface) and beat with a hammer to make cracked ice. Let stand for 3 hours. Drain off salt water. Put all other ingredients (the spices) over cukes. Put in 5 quart pot and bring to a boil, turn down heat and cook till the mixture and cukes turn color (brighter green/yellow). Pack in jars (not too full) and put on sealing lids. These will seal themselves, they don’t need to cook again or go in a pressure canner. Do wipe off the the syrupy stuff from the tops of your jars before you put on the lids and rings.

Makes about 10 pints. Enjoy more history below.*

To use these pickles in a potato salad or deviled egg recipe where relish is called for, I take a small amount of pickles (juice, onion, pepper strips and all) and chop them in a chopper and add to whatever I am making.

And there you have a bread and butter pickle recipe for the section of my blog that is its traffic “bread and butter.”

Hint: Last year I made the mistake of peeling the cucumbers. Meh. Just don’t. The peelings add healthy vitamins and after I opened the first jar of these pickles last year, I realized that peeling them weakens their structure and makes them limp in the jar of pickles. But still useable.

*Deep background for this recipe:

Aunt Edith was like a second mother for my husband, because his own mother had severe rheumatoid arthritis, crippling her at far too early of age. She and another aunt, Ressie Robinson, would take turns going to the Davis household to help Estella with cooking, cleaning, and certain major chores—like making pickles, canning tomatoes, beans, and much more. I never had the privilege of knowing my husband’s mother: no mother-in-law, ever. My loss. But my husband tells me that this may have actually been his mother’s recipe. [Cousins: do you know??] Whatever the case, it is my favorite pickle recipe, even more than the aforementioned Midget Sweet Pickles.


What’s your favorite kind of pickles? I would love to hear! Or share a recipe.

Or do you like raw only?


From → Family Life, Food, Recipes

  1. Athanasia permalink

    I like all kinds of pickled foods, not
    just cucumbers. My favorite pickle is sweet gehrkin.

    • Athanasia, I’m so glad to hear from you!! It’s been a while. The sweet gehrkin is one of my favorites too. I’m glad this post on pickles compelled you to comment!! Hope you are doing well.

  2. Bread and butter pickles are my favorite! I usually go straight for bubbies but I’ve been wanting to try out my own. Can’t wait to see how they turn out thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Ashley, for sharing your love of bread and butter pickles. They are often as good as candy, in my book. Hope they work out for you. Blessings, Melodie

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