Bread and butter pickles recipe

This is an adaption of the recipe from Simply Recipes

Ingredients
4 punnets (about 1,5kg) of gherkins (pickling cucumbers)
2 white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 heaped tsp himalayan rock salt (can use Kosher salt as a substitute, regular table salt has additives in it that will turn the pickles dark and muddy the color of the pickle juice)
1 1/4 cup white grape vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 inch cinnamon stick
6 allspice berries plus a pinch of ground allspice
6 whole cloves plus a pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Method

Sterilise your pickling jars
Clean the cucumbers well and slice into wafer thin slices with a mandolin
Finely slice the onion with a mandolin
Mix the onions and cucumbers together until they are evenly distributed. I didn’t sweat my cucumbers with salt and ice as they were sweet and didn’t have the slightest bit of bitterness to them. If you’re using heirloom cucumbers they can tend to be a bit bitter, in which case follow the instructions on the Simply Recipes page to remove some of the bitter liquid from the pickles before continuing, and leave the salt out of the pickling liquid.

Mix the vinegar, sugar and spices in a non reactive pot and bring to the boil
Scoop out a half ladle of the pickling liquid into your canning jars making sure to distribute the whole spices evenly between the jars
Fill the jars with cucumbers and onion
Fill the jars to the brim with the boiling pickling liquid, and seal immediately.
They will be ready to eat withing 48 hrs, but give 2 weeks for the flavours to properly develop
Once opened store in the fridge and eat within a month

This recipe made 8 x 375ml jars.

My family have already put in their orders and will be getting pickles in their Christmas gifts.

Bread and Butter pickles

Bread and Butter pickles

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Falling off the wagon

So I dropped the ball with #projectpoetry. Why? Well I think the combination of a very stressful month, too many things to do, and an ongoing struggle with depression worked together and force me to shut down non-essential services. You know Eskom has been load shedding, the Post Office is on strike and I was out of action for a bit too. It happens. What I’ve learnt about myself over the last year is that when I get to this point a little time out is the only thing that helps me from slipping into a more permanent version of the doldrums that I’ve been in. My mental health is a precarious balancing act and sometimes I get the balance wrong. So after a week and a bit of serious self care, I’m back and feeling pretty good. Yay!

What does self care entail for me?

Getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night

Spending much less time being social

Spending less time on social media or in any other emotionally charged environment

Doing low energy expending, nurturing activities like making pickles. (Yes pickle making is self care, I can do something that has a tangible result, is mildly creative, it an act of love and service for my family and doesn’t require too much effort beyond the repetitive chopping of veggies.)

I may just coin my own term for self care: conserve and preserve.

So I’m back, and coming up will be the recipes for sweet and sour pickled peppers, and bread and butter pickles. Also something to look out for, a review on the single most mindblowingly excellent queer poetry anthology I have ever read… #PoemsForTheQueerRevolution.