One of the joys of summer for me is preserving some of the abundance of fresh produce for use throughout the year. The ritual of getting out the canner, the tools, the jars, lids, and rings makes me feel so productive. I usually do several types of fruit preserves and a couple of kinds of pickles. The only thing I don’t like about homemade preserves and sweet pickles is the amount of sugar that most recipes require. Most fruit preserves call for as much, and sometimes even more, sugar as fruit. And the same with sweet pickles. I just feel so guilty pouring all that refined white sugar over that gorgeous fresh produce! That’s why I started looking around for a bread and butter pickle recipe without all the usual sugar.
I really love bread and butter pickles with their mix of cucumbers and onions in that sweet, tangy solution. They’re one of my favorites! But my old standard recipe called for 2 1/4 cups of white sugar. Eeek! I could just never feel good knowing I was eating all that sugar. So when I saw this recipe from Splenda that uses their substitute I thought I’d give it a try. Now, it doesn’t have the exact taste of a “B&B” made with sugar, but it’s really darned close.
If you enjoy bread and butter pickles but want an alternative then these sugar-free bread and butter pickles might be just what you’re looking for, too.
First, you want to make sure that you use only pickling type cucumbers for your pickles, not the standard grocery store cukes that have been waxed. Those just won’t work. Prepare the cucumbers by washing thoroughly to remove any dirt from the skin. Remove a thin (1/16 inch) slice from the blossom end of each cucumber and discard. (Note: there’s an enzyme in the blossom end that can cause the pickles to be soft.)
Slice cucumbers into rounds approximately 1/4 inch thick. Peel the onion and slice it into 1/4 inch thick slices as well. Separate all the onion rings.
Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss so that the salt is distributed throughout the vegetables. Allow to stand at room temperature for two hours.
Drain the cucumbers and onions in a colander. Rinse thoroughly and drain again. Spread the vegetables on a double thickness of paper towels and pat dry with additional paper towels.
Prepare 3 pint (or 6 half-pint) jars by washing in hot soapy water and rinsing well. Prepare lids and rings according to manufacturer’s directions. Fill a boiling water canner 3/4 full with water. Add the clean jars to the canner and bring to the boil. Keep lids warm in a pan of barely simmering water.
Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar substitute, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the cucumbers and onions and allow the mixture to return to a boil.
Working with one jar at a time, use a slotted spoon to pack vegetables into hot jars filling to 1/4 inch of tops. Ladle in pickling liquid to cover the vegetables. Wipe the jar rim with a moistened paper towel and apply a canning lid and ring. Rings should be just fingertip tight. Return the filled jar to the canner and continue until all jars are packed.
When all jars are filled, lower the jars into the boiling water canner. Water should cover the tops of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Cover the canner and bring the water to a gentle boil. Process for 15 minutes.
Remove jars from the canner and place on a towel to cool completely. After the jars are cool, check to make sure the seals are complete. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate jars after opening.
Resources for low or no sugar canning you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Canning Without Sugar from Pick Your Own
- Low Sugar Alternatives for Jams and Jellies from UGA’s National Center for Home Food Preservation
- Food Preservation Without Sugar or Salt from Colorado State University Extension Service
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Braised Green Beans
- Two years ago: Baked Spaghetti
- Three years ago: Baked Corn Casserole
- Four years ago: No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake