Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles
I have been making these bread and butter pickles for years from a recipe that I originally found on RecipeZaar with the author being "cuisinebymay". I have made my tweaks over the years, but what hasn't changed is the cider vinegar, because I think it sets them apart from recipes made with white vinegar. They are everything you want in a B&B Pickle; sweet, tangy, and crisp with the flavor of the onion being a highlight. Every summer our daughter Lily and I make these pickles. When she was in preschool (she's going into 7th grade this year!) she would bring a jar of her pickles to her new teacher. We made little tags that said "Pickle Lily". We still make these pickles together, and now her friends join us and take jars home with them. Pickles = Love!
15 cups sliced pickling cucumbers (Kirby's are a classic. We can get them for you if you like. Pretty much and garden variety will do)
3 onions, thinly sliced (I use the fresh walla walla's if I have them for extra yum!)
1/4 cup coarse salt
4 cups ice
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
Combine cucumbers, onions, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands. Put a towel over the top of cucumber mixture and pile up the ice. Some folks mix the ice in with the cucumbers, but I have always found that putting the towel on top chills them well over the three hours and keeps them from getting soggy once the salt starts leaching the water from the cukes. Allow them to stand for 3 hours then drain throughly in a colander. Pack the cucumber/onion mix into sterilized jars (see my note at the bottom).
Combine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed in a large pot. Bring to a boil and be sure sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Ladle the vinegar mix into the jars to within a 1/4 inch of the top. Seal in sterilized jars and pop them in the fridge. They taste marvelous in about an hour, but for the best flavor, let them set at least overnight.
You could easily process these for 10 minutes in a hot water bath as well and have pickles for the pantry. Makes 6 pint jars or 3 quarts. For refrigerator pickles, I like the quart jars. They are so good a pint is almost a single serve!