As a kid, I helped my mom processed dill pickles in vinegar brine and what my family called “sweet pickles,” which tasted nothing like the ones on a restaurant burger. It was years before I learned that what I considered sweet pickles were typically sold as “bread-and-butter” pickles. They fall somewhere between the tangy dills and the sugary sweets. And I could eat them by the jar.

When I started canning on my own, pickles were in my first jars. They’re easy to pack and process, the vinegar ensures food safety, and the options for spices in the standard brine are endless. My mom followed the version in the old Ball Blue Book, but Ball has since updated its recipe and other authors have inspired me to make a few tweaks to the flavorings—and to use the brine once the jar is empty. Learn to make Better Bread-and-Butter Pickles and Braised Breakfast Potatoes