Bread & Butter Pickles

by lydia on July 10, 2010

What a day!! I just sat down for the first time that I can remember, with no reason to get up again. I spent the day in the kitchen working on a few projects, but my main one was making pickles. I just ordered a case of pickling cucumbers from my local health food cooperative. Sadly I do not have my own garden.

I started out my day by trying out a new muffin recipe, banana chocolate chip. This recipe was gluten-free, full of good fats and very lower sugar. I was pretty happy with the results, but I think I’ll play around with it a bit more. I also made a crustless quiche. It has been an eternity since I have made a quiche. I used to make these things by the bazillions, I could make them in my sleep. But along came 4 kids and life got busy, and somehow quiche didn’t fit in. Sad, but true. I think it’s high time to encourage quiche eating in my home. Such a nourishing a frugal meal, good for breakfast. lunch or dinner.

Next up, I made liver for dinner, for the first time solo. I am happy to say, my kids ate it up. I told them it was steak, yep I sure did! I am so thrilled I finally got brave enough to try it. I had to talk myself into it for months. Now I hope to make it often, as it is so highly nourishing and VERY affordable. I picked up my grass fed beef liver at my local Farmer’s Market for just $2.50 per pound. I personally did not LOVE the liver. I think perhaps I cooked it a bit too long. I didn’t mind it though, especially with all the onions along with each bite. I felt rather elated and somewhat euphoric, wonder if it was all the amazing vitamins I had just ate. Anyway, on to the pickles…

I really wanted to make lacto-fermented bread and butter pickles, but couldn’t find a recipe anywhere, until my friend reminded me of the one in ‘Eat Fat, Lose Fat‘. After slicing and soaking the cucumbers in ice cold water in the fridge all day, I jarred them up and covered them with the following brine:

Bread & Butter Pickles
Recipe type: Side Dish
  • 7 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
  • 1 cup sliced mild onion
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 10 lemons, make sure you zest those lemons first and freeze the zest for later use in other recipes)
  • ⅓ cup whey
  • 1 cup honey or maple syrup (I used honey, more affordable ;)
  • 3 Tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole celery seeds
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric (I skipped this)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  1. Soak the cucumber slices in a large bowl of ice water in the refrigerator for several hours up to all day long.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cucumbers with onion and place in 2 quart-sized, wide-mouthed mason jars, pressing down lightly with a pounder.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover. Keep the top of the liquid one inch below the top of the jar.
  4. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to the refrigerator.

I actually tweaked this a bit, to make it stretch to 3 1/2 quarts of pickles. I tasted the brine and found it to be really yummy. I can’t wait to try these pickles. Hopefully, I can put some by for later in the year. I also made 6 more quarts of sour pickles as well. We could easily go through a half gallon of pickles a week, so we shall see how long I can make these last. Whatever shall I ferment next?? 😉

Note – These pickles lasted a long time and were still crunchy over 6 months later!

I am contributing this post to ‘Two for Tuesdays‘ over at A Moderate Life!



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Cindy (FarmgirlCyn) July 10, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Lydia…a pickle day all around, eh? How funny! Yours sound yummy…maybe next week I will try these. I am more of a sour dill gal, tho I think the sweet pickle would be good for burger days. And it’s always nice to have a bit of variety! And you don’t have to weigh these down with a plate and a rock or anything?
Also did 2 quarts of your yummy lacto fermented salsa and another batch of kombucha. My apron was on from dawn till dusk! I’m pooped and looking forward to a day of rest.
Be blessed,

Lydia July 11, 2010 at 6:05 am

I wanted the bread and butter pickles for the kids, I am hoping to win one child over to at least one lacto fermented veggie! 😉 I didn’t use a weight, I just used a piece of cabbage at the top of the jar to keep the pickles under the brine, works well!! I am tired too, and unfortunately still have dishes waiting for me and another day of working in the kitchen ahead of me, but it’s worth it!! Peace to you!!

Betheny July 10, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Oh thx for sharing this! Its the only kind of pickles that my husband will eat, so i was thinking, oh poo, i will have to can his this year. Yay! I cant wait to try these and see if I can get his to like something of my new way of making our food! THANKS AGAIN!!! =0)

Lydia July 11, 2010 at 6:06 am

Sure thing Betheny, that’s why I posted this, cause I could not find a recipe online anywhere for these kind of pickles!! :)

alex@amoderatelife July 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Hi Lydia, my husband and daughter both love sweet pickles, so I will totally be making these when I have more kirbys! I see you linked this recipe to the two for tuesday recipe blog hop. Please put a link back so others can join in the fun! Thanks and keep it real! Alex

Lydia July 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Hey there Alex!! These are so yummy!! I was glad to discover the recipe. Thanks for reminding me to link back, oops I forgot 😉

girlichef July 13, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Oh, these sound great! Can never have too many types of pickles…that’s what I think 😉 thanks so much for sharing with Two for Tuesdays this week =)

Bonnie July 13, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I love a crunchy pickle. I’ve never tried this method. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Butterpoweredbike July 14, 2010 at 1:47 am

Quiche makes a great cold snack, too! I even convinced two teenaged boys to eat it the other day, and they loved it. Thanks for sharing your day of pickles at Two for Tuesdays!

Christy July 14, 2010 at 9:42 am

A fermented pickle a day will keep the doctor away, I now always say! I am saving this for when I start a pickling some cukes! thanks for linking to Two for Tuesdays!

Lydia July 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Thanks Ladies!! You will love these pickles!! :)

Mary Nie August 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm

It was pickle day here too! I made Ukrainian Dills (fermented) They taste like stubs. Started the day by going to one of the open markets around the city that has an organic stall. Got a 6 qt basket of cukes along with other goodies.

Lydia August 16, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Hey Mary!! So what on earth do stubs taste like anyway? 😉

Jamie April 23, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I just had a question. You have to refrigorate the lacto-fermented veggies after they ferment right? So, do you just have a second frig with all your lacto-fermented veggies?

Jenn P July 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

Do you have a fermented dill/sour pickle recipe?

Jenn Polliard July 17, 2011 at 12:01 am

So, on fermented recipes, how interchangable are the ingredients? What is necessary? Can I use a different kind of sugar? Can I skip celery seed or is that cruicial to the bread & butter flavor? Thanks for all you write!

lydia July 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Hi Jenn!

Yes you can skip the celery seed – put in what you like. If you change out the honey, I would stick with maybe just some cane sugar or rapadura. (maple syrup would not go well) Make the brine up before hand and taste it, to see if you enjoy it. The one thing that is necessary is some type of leaf (such as bay, grape, horseradish, blackberry or oak) with tannins which will help keep the pickles crisp. The seasonings can always be adjusted to taste. Try out one jar and see how it goes!!

PattyLA May 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

Hi Lydia,
How long do you leave these in the fridge before they are ready to eat?

Richard Washburn August 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I don’t refrigerate my ferments after the few days, just keep in a cool place, in my case the root cellar.

One thing about storing in the root cellar though, the moisture is fairly high,and that can lead to corrosion of metal canning jar lids.

So, I like to use the new BPA free plastic lids made by Ball, instead of the metal ones (which are lined with plastic anyways).

Emily May 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I just made these and they are all mushy:( I saw in the comments that you said you need some kind of leaf to keep them crisp–did I miss this in the recipe?

rudy July 25, 2013 at 11:42 pm

I read some where the tannins from tea leaves will help with crispness as well. I also read that the whey can make veggies soft and mushy. I have elected to add some oolong tea leaves to some plain cukes I’m fermenting via salt and water, no whey.
Hope this helps in the future- I just came across this and will try this method tmo.

lydia July 30, 2013 at 6:52 am


I no longer recommend using whey. Whey drops the pH of the ferment too quickly and skips stages. I also now use leafs every time I make pickles – blackberry, grape leaves, even bay leaves work well. Any leaf with tanins. I need to revamp this recipe because I also now only use anaerobic methods of fermentation. Perhaps this summer I’ll get the new method posted! Thanks for stopping by!

Laura @ FermentaCap December 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm

The reason people don’t make pickles with sugar is that the sugar will convert to alcohol, and then to vinegar, so you lose the sugar over time, and the more sugar, the more alcohol in the intermediate stage (a serious issue for some people).

I have chosen to go with an alternate two stage method. First fermenting the pickles with a standard sour brine, through the active stage of fermentation, and then sweetening it when it is put into the fridge. This means that the sugar is converted more slowly in the cool temps, and takes a much longer time to form any significant alcohol or to reduce the sweeter flavor. Lets me use less sugar and avoid the alcohol issues as long as we use them within 1-2 months (NOT a problem).

Debra E July 12, 2014 at 9:13 am

I would love to hear your update for anaerobic fermentation of these pickles!

lydia July 12, 2014 at 9:34 am

So would I! 😉

(hopefully some time this summer)

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