Pickled Out (BBB)


Latest sweet relish production.

I believe I have just about canned enough pickles this year. Current count:

Bread and Butter Pickles (16 pints and 5 quarts)
Sweet Gherkin Pickles (8 pints)
Dede’s Sweet Relish (16 pints and one half-pint)
Dill Pickles (8 pints)

I’ll be canning some more sweet gherkins next week. I’m still saving up tiny cukes for that one. Other than that, I think I need to stop. We’re having a bumper cucumber crop this year, but there comes a point where it’s just silly and a waste of resources (time, jars, propane) to put away more. I’m providing for our needs, not stocking a pickle warehouse. I already have more than plenty to use and to give away to friends and family. I started canning the bread and butter pickles in quarts because I was using up too many pint jars on pickles. I have a zillion quart jars, but much fewer pint and half-pint jars. Pint and half-pint jars tend to be the size that stuff goes in that you give away, particularly jam, and there goes the jar…….. The only person I can count on to give me my jars back after she finishes whatever I gave her is Georgia. She’s an old-time home canner–she knows the value of a jar and she knows that I need it back so that I can give her something new in the jar.

Quart jars of bread and butter pickles.

With all the bread and butter pickling lately, I got curious about bread and butter pickles. Why are they called bread and butter pickles? A brief search led me to numerous websites all offering up one or the other of two theories. Either bread and butter pickles are so named because during the Depression, they were as common as bread and butter OR during the Depression people ate bread and butter with pickles because that was all they could afford. In either case, it appears to be a type of pickle popularized during the Depression era.

Bread and butter pickles are a happy combination of just enough sugar with just enough vinegar to be sweet but not cloying, and they’re very easy to make (and can). The store-bought variety seems to be the pickles only most of the time, but your home recipe usually comes with sliced onions along with the other usual suspects in a pickle recipe. Pickles are cheap. If you have a good cucumber year, that’s a lot of pickles. Many people during the Depression would have been growing their own gardens and had their own onions, too.

I have absolutely zero authority for this statement, but I suspect the second explanation (that people during the Depression ate pickles on buttered bread) is the correct one. Homemade bread, butter from the family cow, and pickles from the garden. I can see people down on their financial luck calling that lunch. Or at least a tasty snack. Calling them bread and butter pickles just because they’re common? Apple pie is common. Why don’t we have bread and butter pie? And so on.

To further shore up my meaningless assertion of this insignificant historical point, I buttered a piece of bread and put some pickles on it.

And ate it.

And it was quite tasty.

Now I’m an authority!

Or something. Anyway! Who wants a BBB today?


Ball Blue BookIt’s a Ball Blue Book Project day! Today’s Ball Blue Book is sponsored by JeannieB in honor of her mother, Helen Sharpe Frazee.

For a chance to win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want it. You can just put (BBB) at the end of your comment or otherwise note that you want to be in the draw. One winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive a Ball Blue Book. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tonight (July 22). This post will be updated with the winner by 9 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow (July 23). Return to this post to claim your book if your name is drawn (or check the BBB Winners List).

Find out more about the Ball Blue Book Project and become a sponsor.

NOTE: You must be registered to comment. If you’re not registered, you can register here. If you’re already registered but not logged in, go here to log in.

UPDATE 07/23/11: The winning comment number, drawn by random.org, is comment #3, morningstar. Email me at CITRg[email protected] with your full name and address for shipping!



  1. Sheila Z says:

    I believe your theory is the correct one. Bread and Butter pickles because you ate them with bread and butter and you liked it that way! You better have liked it because that’s all there was on the table to eat.

  2. collector1 says:

    BBB please. Thank you!

  3. morningstar says:

    They look real scrummy and have made my mouth water just looking at the pictures !!!! Please enter me for a chance of the BBB, thank you

  4. tea4too0 says:

    I can remember the smell of great granny’s kitchen after pickling dills. I can see the whole sprig of dill in the jar, and the taste is still on my tongue. Yum. Thank you for the memory refresh. Please enter me in the contest, T

  5. lavenderblue says:

    Bread and butter pickles were my parents favorite pickle. We had jars and jars and jars. They were children during the depression so that is probably why. Long after they could afford what they wanted to buy (for the most part), they kept depression sensibilities and a pickle recipe that didn’t use a lot of sugar would certainly have appealed to my mom.

    Me, I’m a dill pickle person, myself. My mother could not raise dill, I, myself, am dill challenged. The neighbor not only raised wonderful dill but made wonderful dill pickles. There was a lot of swapping going on. We traded pickle for pickle but water for the dill weed because her water had sulpher in it and when she wanted to make pickles, she needed different water. It probably really wasn’t a trade, just what neighbors do.

    Mom also ate bread with her french fries, her family had that for supper when she was a girl many nights, she said. Yuk!
    BBB, please.

  6. Vicki in So. CA says:

    So far I’ve picked only 2 cukes. I started late, but pickles are in my future too.
    In answer to your question… I do, I DO!!! Pick me you rascally random picker. Thank you very much!

  7. TRUDY says:

    I just made some refrigerator pickles yesterday and ate some on a sandwich last evening ~ yummo!
    BBB, please!!

  8. wvhomecanner says:

    Suzanne, your sandwich was missing peanut butter! :hungry:

  9. GaPeach says:

    I have been making freezer sweet pickles. YUM!
    BBB, please.

  10. prayingpup says:

    I’ve made dills & the Crispy Freezer Pickles from Farm Bell Recipes. I have to say I had my doubts about the freezer pickles being crispy, but they were & they don’t use a lot of sugar. I just love them & if you want to save on jars, freezer pickles is a great idea! BBB please!

  11. justdeborah2002 says:

    oh yes, I would love the chance to win a BBB!

  12. kelly jo kirby says:

    Please sign me up for the BBB! I wasn’t able to plant my garden until 3 weeks ago and it is doing amazingly well. I would really need the book come this fall to help me put up my garden.

  13. farm maid says:

    Suzanne, I have to tell you that I had almost given up making pickles until I saw your recent posts on your pickle making. You inspired me to give pickles another try. Last week, I made Dede’s Refrigerator dill and the sweet pickles – both great. I have the bread and butter pickles soaking in the frig and will can them today. A BBB would be a welcome gift.

  14. joeyfulnoise says:

    My cukes are coming in very slowly, so today is the first day for pickles here. BBB please!

  15. debg says:

    No cucumbers for me yet. But soon (I hope). BBB please.

  16. marymac says:

    I have surely ate my share of bread n butter pickles on bread n butter!!! It is delish. BBB please.

  17. Breezy says:

    Mmmm, mmmmm, pickles – any kind of pickles! :wave: (BBB)

  18. ejc says:

    Looks good! BBB please.

  19. naomibeth3 says:

    BBB Please :snoopy:

  20. jrrus95 says:

    Just made my first batch of dill pickles two days ago! Going to try the bread and butter soon! looke delish! :sheepjump: BBB!

  21. Darlene in North GA says:

    I would, :woof: I would! :snoopy:


  22. mamajoseph says:

    Still waiting to win a BBB! :happyfeet:

  23. csteinme says:

    I love bread and butter pickles! BBB please.

  24. kpbarnett says:

    These are excellent in grilled cheese sandwiches, especially with the onions!
    BBB – no thanks.

  25. Chicken Crossing says:

    I just canned some pickles using your sweet gerkin recipe. They turned out great! Thanks! I am in desparate need of a BBB book. My DH threw mine out (he denies it, but it was in shreds and he’s a bit of a neat freak, so he’s my prime suspect) If I don’t win one I will by buying one. If I purchase one from the link on your blog will you get a kick back for it. If so that’s how I’ll do it. Thanks. BBB

  26. TeresaJM says:

    Sitting here drinking my (absolute last & I mean it this time) cup of coffee and thinking that bread w/pickles meal looks tasty!
    BBB please

  27. FakeItFrugal says:

    Those Bread & Butters look GOOD! I desperately need a BBB book – I have the canner and all the equipment, but I’d love to have a real reference book! Cheers!

  28. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Suzanne — you need to make cinnamon redhot pickles!!! They’re wonderful and go with all manner of foods. Besides, you can fake people out who absolutely insist they are spiced apples! I’ve had people just refuse to believe what they just ate was a cucumber.

  29. boo21smom says:

    I just store bought bread and butter pickles last weekend. If I had a BBB book, I could make my own! I hope I win! Thank you!

  30. susyque says:

    Have you ever made Lime Pickles? Very crisp and crunchy!

  31. Kathi says:

    That’s a lot of pickles!

    Yes, BBB please.

  32. countrygirl221 says:

    Those bread and butter pickles look delicious! BBB Please! Thanks. :snoopy:

  33. JanaBanana says:

    I have always wanted to make these! Yours look like they belong in a Better Homes magazine! YUM! Please enter me in the drawing… thanks! :snoopy:

  34. gerryvoland says:

    Makes me wish we planted cucumbers this year. We did, however, try cantalope and watermelon for the first time in years and they are producing nicely. Haven’t harvested our first fruits yet, but soon! I want the BBB!

  35. cabynfevr says:

    I would love to win a BBB but not for the pickles, eww!

  36. Aggiemom says:

    :woof: :woof: :woof: :woof: :woof: :woof: :woof: :woof: :woof: :woof:
    I would love to have a BBB. I have no home canned pickles. My cukes have burned to a crisp, and not crisp as in crispy pickles.

    Thanks for the oportunity for a BBB.

  37. boulderneigh says:

    Me, please!

  38. CrystalGB says:

    I would love to have the BBB. I have canning lots of grean beans. πŸ˜€

  39. clh063538 says:

    Would love BBB please!

  40. jkubemt1 says:

    Bread and Butter pickles are my fav. I’ve been know to just open a jar and eat the whole thing. Yummy. BBB PLEASE!!!!! :turtle:

  41. joykenn says:

    Looks yummy. I’d love to win the BBB. I like the idea that you control the amount of sugar as some store pickles are too sweet. I still like to know I’m eating a cucumber and not a sugar stick. And I’m not too fond of dills that are too sour.

    This has been the wierdest summer in a long time. Too cold, then much too hot and no rain. Haven’t seen many cucumbers and not as much squash or zuchs as usual so prices in farmer’s market are still high.

    Suzanne, got anyone around who doesn’t have too many cucumbers and might trade you some other vegetable. If not, the goats would LOVE, LOVE to get some cucumbers, I bet.

  42. Ramona Slocum says:

    I grew up eating Bread and Butter Pickles. My mom taught me to make all kinds of pickles. I made them for my family. Many good memories.
    BBB for me please.
    MN Mona

  43. ladydragon517 says:

    I would love to win one! My cucumber crop isn’t bountiful, but I plan on buying some pickling cukes from one of my local farmer’s markets. I want to make bread and butter pickles, a family favorite with onions, cauliflower and carrots.

  44. AndiK says:

    My favorites are definitely dill pickles, and I’d love to learn how to make them! Count me in for the BBB, please.

  45. alosyu says:

    Am just starting to learn more about pickling, so, would love a BBB,please

  46. pdelainey says:

    BBB Please :clover:

  47. luvliljo says:

    I would love to be entered into the drawing. I am trying to learn how to can, so far I’ve made some pinto beans, they are awesome! I love being able to provide for my family this way!

  48. leann says:

    Yum…bread and butter pickles. We like them on turkey sandwiches, not with deli turkey, but leftover roasted turkey, preferably on homemade bread.
    Did you ask Georgia why they are called bread and butter pickles? I’m curious about what she would say. πŸ™‚
    BBB, please. :happyflower:

  49. marjohalleran says:

    oh id love to win the book :)!!!!!
    BBB! Please

  50. sam says:

    the pickles look delish. I would love BBB.


  51. AmyCook in WI says:

    My favorite thing after having a hot dog, hamburger or something with the “fixings” is to take a half bun, put on the leftover onions, pickles with some mustard and have my dessert! My hubby thinks I’m nuts, but I love it and should just have that for lunch, but never think of it ’cause we got too much food!

    Thanks for the chance for a BBB.

  52. langela says:

    Count me in. I’ve been pickling zucchini, as everyone who has tried it around here, requests more. In my opinion, they are so much better than pickled cukes.

  53. momtoadiva says:

    BBB please πŸ™‚

  54. mrsdmahogany says:

    My mom always made bread and butter pickles and she always ate bread with her bread and butter pickles! We are still aways from our cucumbers (short, cold growing season) but there are flowers on my vines! Now all I need is a BBB and my quest is complete! BBB please!!


  55. azladychef says:

    BBB please!
    Thanks Suzanne and JeannieB for another chance.

  56. oct4luv says:

    I’m ready to learn how to can. I hope I win!

  57. jeepdriver says:

    BBB please. I always thought that bread and butters became popular because they required less sugar and since sugar was rationed during the war, many folks just couldn’t afford it. Sweet pickles were the best but bread and butters came very, very close. Oh, and try some cheese on your sandwhich. Really good with cheddar.

  58. melonhead says:

    I agree with your theory. And I have about the same amount of authority as you. : ) BBB, please! Thanks. πŸ˜†

  59. MissyinWV says:

    I just finished canning 4 quarts of dill pickles so it was a perfect day time to sit down and read your post!!! :sun: I imagine you are right about your theory because when I was growing up we had cucumber sandwiches with just cucumbers and butter on them….AND THEY ARE GOOD!!! I’ll have to try the pickles! BBB please..Thanks

  60. HobbyHillFarm says:

    BBB, please! Thank you. Just learned to can Pickles and Beans at the local extension and we used the Ball Blue Book. It was great!!

  61. artsjoy says:

    Would luv a BBB!!! :snoopy: Did my first canning last weekend…well sort of… I made freezer jam for the first time. Yum! :eating:

  62. JerseyMom says:

    We always had bread and butter pickles growing up and my Grandma canned them. I am a dill fan myself but like a b&b once in a while, especially at Thanksgiving where they belong on the relish tray next to the olives and stuffed celery. I expect our cucumbers are about cooked on the vine – it’s 99 degrees and humid so feels like 113 πŸ˜₯

    Add me to the BBB please, just in case anything survives to be canned!

  63. beneathhiswings says:

    BBB, please.

  64. DebbieInMemphis says:

    I need to make some pickles, but I need a BBB to can them πŸ™‚

  65. turtle says:

    I love pickles, except my German friend Doris says pickles mean zits in German, so she prefers that I refer to them as gherkins. As gherkins go, I have not had a better one in the United States than anything I’ve ever had in Europe (Germany and France at least). I wish I knew why. Might it be the perservatives used in canning the (store-bought) American gherkins? Maybe I should just learn to can my own? A BBB might help πŸ™‚

  66. Liz says:

    :happyfeet: See those happy feet? I am tickled and will be
    in the PICKLE soon as I win! :happyfeet:

  67. scollard says:

    BBB, please! :wave:

  68. aprilejoi says:

    Suzanne- you mentioned saving your gherkins untill yu hade enough to can. How are you saving them, by freezing? or just refrigerating? Thanks! and, oh, BBB!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      aprilejoi, I put the little gherkins cucumbers in my cheese fridge to keep them because it’s not overly cold but will help them keep longer. Hopefully I will have enough by next week. You wouldn’t want to freeze them!

  69. GrammieEarth says:

    BBB Please! My adult tongue prefers the dill or sour type pickles, and I absolutely love cucumbers as they ‘are’! I have been known to make and sometimes enjoy the sweeter type of pickle. Mixed pickles with cauliflower…I love the cauliflower part! If I was the one to open the jar…say goodbye to the top chunks of cauliflower :eating:

    πŸ™‚ Pam

  70. mammaleigh says:

    I would love to get a BBB!
    Thank you! :clover: :clover: :clover: :clover: (I need all the luck that I can get today!)

  71. lovemyhens says:

    would love to learn how to can!

    BBB please!!!

  72. wannabee says:

    I would love a BBB!

  73. cindyinohio says:

    Oh, now I want to make some sweet pickle relish. Looks great!
    BBB me please!

  74. LisaAJB says:

    BBB me! But I won’t be making bread and butter pickles. I’m a dill lady.

  75. Ann says:

    Thank You for the chance! BBB!

  76. tractor57 says:

    Pickles always pickles!
    BnB, dill, relish, pickled beets, pickled okra and many more

  77. brookdale says:

    Boy you sure have been busy with all the pickles!
    Would love to have a BBB…maybe I can make some pickles too.

  78. VABigMama says:

    I just bought my first canner! BBB please!

  79. Lana says:

    I am a major dill pickle fan – I don’t remember ever eating a bread and butter pickle, but I will definitely have to try them. Please enter me in the BBB drawing!

  80. margie2408 says:

    I think you are right on about the bread and the butter and the pickles- those were hard times, but we one the farm ate like kings!
    Send me a book!

  81. Wildflower_VA says:

    You are finished canning pickles, and I have just started! Unfortunately, my cucumbers (and squash) just started to produce heavily at the same time the weather decided to start throwing 100 degree days one after the other. So far, I have only made squash and cucumber refrigerator pickle, but they hit the spot for me.

    I make bread & butter, lime pickle, squash pickle, relish, pickled green tomatoes and dill pickles. I am a pickle fiend!

  82. morningstar says:

    I can not believe that I was the chosen one for the BBB and am so excited. Thank you so much JeannieB I will be honoured to put it in to good use in the memory of your mother, Helen Sharpe Frazee. Bless you all xxxxxxx

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