Have you bought a Pickling Spice blend at the store? It usually looks bland and colorless, has a high proportion of the cheapest ingredients, and not much of anything else. That’s why I started making our own. Homemade Picking Spice allows you to experiment with different flavors and spice up your pickling game!
Basic Pickling Flavors
Our favorite basic pickling flavors include mustard, pepper, and dill seeds, making a delicious and simple pickle. Combined with a basic sweet, salty, tart brine (sugar, salt, and vinegar), those flavors make a nice basic pickle, but you don’t have to stop there.
The pickle we make the most? Our Garlic Dill Pickles, where we take our basic blend and add celery seed, garlic cloves, and some fresh dill or dill flowers.
Many years ago, we started adding a little cinnamon after trying an amazing pickle in a restaurant in Galena, Illinois. Corriander got added one year because I had a big seed harvest from our cilantro and needed to use them up. When I pickled Peaches, I added nutmeg and cardamom and then found a recipe with cloves, so we added some of those. Then red pepper flakes to give a nice little kick.
Over time, I return to my favorite flavors repeatedly, so I have included those in this Homemade Pickling Spice Recipe. I add other flavors, depending on what I am pickling.
Where do we get our herbs and spices?
We grow many of our herbs and a few of our spices. We get dill, coriander seeds, caraway, and fennel from our garden. Along with chilis that we dry ourselves and use for pepper flakes and chili powders.
When buying ingredients, we prefer to purchase from bulk bins. Bulk herbs and pieces come in large containers from which to serve yourself. You measure in weight or, using the scoops provided, how much of any product you wish. This way, you can buy close to exactly what you need for a project or recipe, perfect for our Homemade Pickling Spice, so our herbs and spices also tend to be fresh and colorful.
Bulk herbs and spices are available in many places. Try health food stores, co-ops, and even Whole Foods. We get ours at local food co-ops.
Never Be Afraid to Experiment.
After going through my pickling spice blend photographs from past years and my most recent batch, I realized that I always adjust my blend based on my pickling that day and what spices I have at home. So please do not think the recipe below is the be-all and end-all. If you don’t have five bay leaves, three will work. No coriander; leave it out!
Most importantly, not having an ingredient shouldn’t stop you from trying some pickles. Peppercorns and your pickling brine will work just fine in a pinch!
As of right now, I also do not have photographs of my usual mix, so these will have to do until I make my next batch!!