Give these Depression Era delicacies a Texas kick
Have you ever sat down to a proper English tea that included cucumber sandwiches? Sounds a little hoity-toity doesn’t it?
But during the Great Depression, cucumber sandwiches were a cheap, easy-to-make sandwich. Cucumbers were plentiful and easy to grow. It became a popular sandwich among a suffering people. At the end of summer, the excess crop of cucumbers were pickled and put up in jars for the lean winter months.
Used as the off-season filling for bread and butter sandwiches, these sweet, crunchy bread-and-butter pickles, as they came to be known, were a tasty break from the bland flavorings available during that time.
What makes this version Texan? The addition of jalapeño peppers. The pickles will last months in the refrigerator and longer if you process them in canning jars in a boiling water canner.
2 pounds pickling cucumbers or any small cucumbers, sliced 1⁄4-inch thick
1⁄2 sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced thin. If you can find red ones, it adds pop to the jar presentation.
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1⁄2 teaspoon celery seed
1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1⁄8 teaspoon ground clove
Combine cucumbers, onions and peppers in a bowl; pour kosher salt over the top and stir to coat completely. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate, stirring occasionally for 2-4 hours. Rinse in a colander for several minutes to remove the salt and allow to drain.
Stir vinegar, sugar, water, garlic, mustard seeds, celery seeds, peppercorns, turmeric and ground cloves together in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and cook until brine flavors combine, about 2 minutes. Add cucumber mixture to brine, heat until almost boiling, remove from heat and cool completely. Transfer to jars and store in the refrigerator.