This year I used 4 pounds of cucumbers (about 7 inches long) and 4 medium sized onions. The quantities do not need to be exact, and in fact, my mother's old recipe refers to bushels and pecks. I have no idea how to translate this into English measurements, so I usually use 4 - 6 pounds of cucumbers and 4 - 6 onions. I make the same amount of brine, though, because once again, I have no idea how to reduce the amount proportionately. This may sound haphazard, but it is a recipe handed down from my grandmother, who, I'm sure was not exact in her cooking either. It always works.
How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles
4 - 6 pounds of small, knobbly cucumbers, thinly sliced.
4 - 6 medium sized onions, thinly sliced.
1/2 cup Kosher salt or sea salt. (It must be large grained salt, otherwise, you will use too much.)
Put tomatoes and onions in a large container (not metal) and sprinkle with salt. Leave to stand (lightly covered) for 4 hours or more. (I leave mine overnight.)
Rinse and drain.
Taste to ensure they are not too salty.
Make the Brine by mixing:
4 cups (32 oz) Cider vinegar (My recipe just says vinegar, but Cider vinegar works best.)
1 cup water.
3 cups white sugar.
1 cup brown sugar.
2 generous Tablespoons of pickling spices. (You can buy these ready mixed at Staiinsburys in England.) Otherwise, use 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon mixed spices, including the tiny bits of chilli.
Bring all this to a boil, then add tomatoes and onions.
Bring back to boil and cook about 5 minutes.
Pour into hot, *sterilised jars filling them as near the top as you dare.
Seal and leave for a few weeks before using The flavours will be more developed.
These keep for years in the cupboard, but they will probably not last that long.
Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse with boiling water from the kettle.
Put jars and lids in a low oven while making the pickles so they are hot and thoroughly dry.
Here I have served it with quiche and salad, but it is delicious with cold meats and as a toping for hamburgers.