Bread & Butter Pickles
16 cups sliced cucumbers or zucchini
4 medium onions
1/3 cup pickling salt
2 to 3 trays of ice cubes
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp whole mustard seed
1 Tbsp whole celery seed
1 tsp ground turmeric
OPTIONAL 1 to 2 teaspoons hot chili flakes
Wash the cucumbers or zucchini well, and trim off the ends. Cut them into thin, even slices, and layer them in a large perforated pot or strainer with the ice cubes and the salt. Peel and slice the onions in equally thin slices, and cut them in quarters. Add them to the strainer. Have a couple of the ice cubes and a little of the salt left to sprinkle over them. Cover and put in a cool spot for 3 hours to drain.
Meanwhile, put the jars into a canner and cover with water to an inch above their rims. When the vegetables have about 30 minutes left to drain, turn the heat on and bring them to a boil. Boil them for 10 minutes.
Just before the jars start boiling, put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a canning kettle or other very large, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil until the sugar is dissolved.
Meanwhile, strain the vegetables thoroughly, shaking gently to dislodge as much liquid as possible from them. Do not rinse them. Add them to the boiling brine, and bring them up to a scant boil. This should happen about the same time as the jars are ready, but if not, turn off the heat and keep them until the jars are ready.
Put the lids and rings on to boil according to the manufacturers directions; that is they should boil for 5 minutes.
Empty the sterilized jars - half into the sink and half back into the canner - and set them out on a heat-proof board. Fill the jars with the hot pickle mixture. Wipe the rims with a paper towel dipped in the boiling water to be sure they are clean and clear. Top with the boiled lids and rims, and seal them snuggly but not too tightly. Pop them back into the boiling water in the canner, and boil for 10 minutes. Remove and let the jars cool. Test for seals, and label the jars.
Makes 6 500mL jars.
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