blue chip pickles

January 1st, 2015

Once upon a time, I lived in a farmhouse in rural Virginia, surrounded by fifty acres of cultivated soybeans. The front and back lawns were spacious enough to allow for large vegetable gardens that always yielded far more produce than could be consumed or given away. Canning these many vegetables became a daily event, usually performed in the morning when the combination of temperature and humidity were still tolerable.

Hundreds of jars later, the Blue Chip Pickle-of-the-Month Club was born and its lucky subscribers enjoyed an array of pickles, relishes, chutneys and conserves each month for the next year. That enterprise earned me more friends than it did income and remains a fond food memory.

Recent house hunting and travel have taken me through Williamsburg, Virginia several times where I twice got to enjoy dinner at the Waypoint Seafood and Grill. Diners are served a sectioned dish containing homemade Bread ‘n Butter Pickles, Country Ham Pate, and Whipped Sweet Butter alongside a breadbasket of Cornmeal Gems and sliced Baguette.

Aye, aye, aye… that introductory taste combination has no parallel. The pickles, in particular, are so tantalizing to the palate that I ordered a refill for dessert and they’ve been haunting me ever since. The haunt became a nag and with no tool other than desire did I create a batch of Bread n’ Butter Pickles quite in keeping with the Waypoint’s!

Day two of my delirious enjoyment set off a whisper from my inner baker that demanded some Artisanal Whole Wheat Molasses Bread as an accompaniment. I promptly obeyed. The pickles and the bread were soon joined by a knob of cheese, some sliced salami and a hard-boiled egg. A fitting Plowgirl’s Lunch for a girl without a plow.

Better Bread 'n Butter Pickles

Related Recipes

Better Bread 'n Butter Pickles

This is a quick pickle and requires no canning equipment. For a spicy version, add a teaspoon of Asian garlic-chili paste!

Makes approximately one pint:

  • 1 long English cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ small onion
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric

Leave the skin on the cucumber. Slice the cucumber and onion by hand or in a food processor fitted with the 1/8 inch slicer. Place the sliced cucumber and onion in a bowl and toss in the salt. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Rinse the cucumber and onion slices thoroughly under cold running water, drain well and return to the bowl.

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients and heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugars. Pour the mixture over the cucumber and onion slices and stir gently. Cover and leave at room temperature for one hour.

Pack the pickles into a pint jar and let steep in refrigerate overnight.

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.