When putting together a pickling spices mix you can have a simple, straightforward recipe with 6-7 ingredients. Or if you're the adventurous cook, add as many of your favourite spices and herbs as you desire!
The one below is my staple recipe, and is a good all-round mix. But feel free to experiment, depending on what you're pickling; add or omit any ingredient you like or dislike.
I usually pickle only my homegrown vegetables, my beets, shallots, gherkins, cauliflower and red cabbage. But there is so much more; carrots, garlic, ginger root and chili peppers to name a few.
Not to mention all the fruit you can use: apples, pears, plums etc.
This way of preparing food is ancient, and has been a way of preserving food for over 4000 years!
Note: If you have them available, use as many whole spices as possible. If you don't you can always swap some like the dried ginger or coriander seeds for pre-ground and add to your muslin/cheesecloth parcel.
Ingredients: (Makes about 10 tbsp)
10-15 dried bay leaves
2 inch piece dried ginger
2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
2 tbsp peppercorns
1 tbsp mace blades
1 tbsp allspice berries
1 tbsp coriander seeds (cilantro seeds)
2 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
2 inch cinnamon stick
tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon
Note: You can also just add the ingredients to the vinegar without the muslin/cheesecloth.
Now you have your recipe, what will you do with your mix?
My favourite is pickled red cabbage and the one I do often as I usually have a glut of cabbage left over at the end of October.
1 large red cabbage
4 tbsp salt
2 pints malt vinegar (1.2 litres)
3-4 tbsp of the homemade pickling spices in cheesecloth (or loose)
Directions: Sterilize some jars and lids. Note: You need vinegar proof lids.
Store in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks before using. Eat within 3 months.