Mama's Bread and Butter Pickles!

This is my mother's recipe for "Bread and Butter Pickles" and to me, it's the best homemade pickle there is.  My sister and I used to eat these for a snack as kids they were so good!  They are sort of a cross between a pickle and relish which is why I probably like them so much.  They are also a really good pickle to start with for those who are new to canning, because they are not that complicated or hard to make.  Homemade pickles are an iffy sort of thing.  Remember the Andy Griffith episode about Aunt Bea's homemade pickles. 

This is not the look you want to see when you present your homemade pickles to! 

So here is what you will need for these yummy pickles:

3 quarts of cucumbers, sliced thin (about 4 lbs.)
1/2 cup canning salt
1 cup water
4 cups onions, sliced in thin rings (about 3-4 large onions)
1 large green bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1 large red bell pepper, cut in thin strips
3 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar
2 Tbs. mustard seed
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. ground ginger

Place the cucumbers, onions,  bell peppers, salt and water in a large bowl or container with a tight fitting lid.   Cover with ice cubes, place the lid on them and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

After they have chilled, remove from ice and drain well.    Pack into sterilized pint jars. If you place some of the red and green pepper strips where they are visible, the jars look prettier. You will need about 8-9 jars.   Leave some head room in each jar. 

In a saucepan on the stove, combine vinegar, sugar and spices.  Bring just to a boil, turn off  and remove from heat.   Carefully pour over the cucumber mixture in each jar.  Don't over fill.  Wipe down the jars if you spill any on the outside.

Place the lids and rings on the jars.  Leave the rings slightly loose.
Place the jars in a canner or large Dutch oven and add water just up to the rings, not over the rings.   Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover.  Let stand in the hot water bath for about 40 minutes.  Remove and turn upside down on the counter.  This aids in sealing the jars.  

 The lids will pop when they are properly sealed.  if they don't pop and this rarely happens, refrigerate and eat that jar first.  

Don't store it for later use outside of the refrigerator. 

These pickles are so good with most anything and they are also great minced and used in potato salad, chicken salad, tuna salad or anything that calls for pickle relish.  You can just put a whole jar through the food processor and keep it in the fridge for that purpose! 


  1. I remember mom making these. I think she used Mrs. Wagers or something like that. They was soooo good.

  2. Mrs. Wage's is the name of the mix and you can STILL get it at most retail grocery stores. I used it all last year, but got brave this year and used my mother's "old-time" recipe this year.... Both were absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!

  3. This is my second season making these pickles (any pickles, I'm new to canning) and they are easy, foolproof and taste amazing! We canned several different pickle recipes last season, this year my family decided we only need these pickles and the honey, pickle relish we also loved. Thank you for a great recipe worthy of coming back to a year later.

  4. Those sound really good but I question not covering the jars completely with water for processing.

    1. As long as your jars and lids are sterilized, it's not necessary. My mother has been canning for 60 plus years and has always done that on things like pickles. If you want to cover completely, that's fine too!

  5. My Mom made the same recipe, you are right they are so good. Once a week we would have northern white beans made from scratch and cornbread for dinner. The pickles made the meal. Sweet memories indeed.



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