Nobody made better bread & butter pickles than Donaldsonville, La. native, Gertrude Connell. Gertie’s husband, Joe, would grow cucumbers and pick them when they were about 3–4 inches long. Gertie would jar her pickles and onions and save the delicacy for Christmas gifts.
4 pounds cucumbers, 3–4 inches long
2 large Bermuda onions, peeled and sliced
½ cup kosher salt
2½ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp celery seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
3 cups cider vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Using the slicing blade of a food processor or a short paring knife, slice cucumbers crosswise as thin as possible. In a large ceramic bowl, layer cucumbers, onion slices and salt, cover with water and refrigerate overnight. Using a colander, drain cucumbers and onion slices well and refrigerate until ready to use. In a 2-gallon saucepan, combine sugar, celery seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, vinegar and pepper flakes over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. When mixture has reached a rolling boil, add chilled cucumber-onion mixture and stir to heat evenly. When mixture returns to a low boil, reduce heat to simmer but keep hot. Using a slotted spoon, fill hot, sterilized jars with cucumbers and onions to 1 inch from top. Once all jars are filled, cover with boiling syrup almost to overflowing. Divide any remaining spices at bottom of saucepot evenly among jars. Seal jars tightly and label. Store pickles 60–90 days before using.