Maple Bread & Butter Cucumbers Recipe

These cucumbers may look simple, but a unique blend of brine and spice brings a twist to otherwise traditional pickle slices.

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  • Maple Brine recipe (below)
  • 1 tablespoon Bread & Butter Spice Mix (below)
  • 1-1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers, blossom ends removed, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds


  • Combine the brine and spice mix in a medium-sized stainless steel pot, and bring it to a simmer.
  • Pack the cucumber slices into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, using a canning funnel and staying mindful of the head-space.
  • Remove any air bubbles. Wipe jar rims, and apply lids and rings. Process in a water bath canner or steam canner for 15 minutes. Cool and check jars for lid seal.

No need to be limited in this recipe: If you prefer sugar to maple, go for it! Try brown sugar. Whisky or bourbon would also add unique depth to the brine.

Yields 2 pints.

Maple Brine Recipe

Brines have an optimal balance of acids to keep preserved pickles safe while also preventing the sourness from overpowering the fresh produce and seasonings. Use a vinegar of at least 5 percent acidity. If you like a stronger tang, replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with more vinegar. If you prefer less of a bite to your pickle, you can safely add a sweetener; start with 1 to 2 tablespoons to take the edge off. To prepare this brine, simply bring the ingredients to a simmer before use. It makes enough brine for one quart jar or two pint jars.

Replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with apple cider, beer, or hard cider, if preferred. If you’d like to add some rum, whiskey, or bourbon, substitute no more than 1/4 cup of the water with alcohol.

  • 1-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Basic pickle spice, black peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander, fresh or dried ginger, juniper, marjoram, mustard seeds, nutmeg, relish spice, sage, star anise, sweet and smoked paprika, tarragon, and/or thyme, to taste

Bread & Butter Spice Mix

Freshly made spice blends allow you to experience the way each individual spice mingles with the rest to create a particular flavor. Because pickling means you’re trapping produce in jars long-term to absorb brine, you should use the best spices and herbs available. This recipe yields about 1 cup. Simply combine all the spices in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.

  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons black mustard seeds (or more yellow)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise, optional

For more unique pickling recipes, see:

Tamika Adjemian is a recipe developer and Master Food Preserver. Find her on Instagram @TamikaAdjemian. This is an excerpt from her new book, Pickled to Please.

Pickled to Please

If you’ve been considering canning your own pickled products, Pickled to Please is perfect for you. Author Tamika Adjemian has put together a well-rounded collection of methods and recipes for your first foray into canning that will make it easier than ever. Intended for new and experienced home canners, this book covers food preservation methods, safety information, and teaches the “mix and match” approach that demonstrates the easy way to swap out seasonings and spices, vinegars and brines, and fruits and vegetables. Every cook will relish the tips in this cookbook, as Adjemian encourages experimentation with different flavors and combinations to find the perfect pickle. After you’ve mastered the art of pickling, the recipes included will help turn the ordinary into delicious at every meal!