DIY Pickling Spices


with Mike Johnston
Founder
August 27, 2015

Making your own pickling spice at home is really pretty easy if you want to experiment with taking your pickled goods in very specific flavor directions.

The Pickling Spice that we sell at our shops is more of an all-purpose pickling spice because it contains a balance of both sweet and savory spices. It’s great for pickling just about anything. But making your own pickling spice at home is really pretty easy if you want to experiment with taking your pickled goods in very specific flavor directions.

DIY TIPS

Don't be afraid to experiment.
The biggest challenge in making your own pickling spice is honing in on the flavor profile you want, since the spices to choose from are abundant. This will require some experimentation because you’ll be using whole or cracked spices, which aren’t all that palatable. (Ground spices will leave a powdery residue and cloud the pickling liquid, which isn’t all that appealing.) So you likely won’t know what your pickling spice blend will taste like until you’ve used it.

Make a test batch.
I recommend starting small and testing a little to make sure you are happy with the results before pickling a big batch of something with your new pickling spice blend. You can get a better sense of what your blend will taste like by grinding a bit of it down in a coffee or spice grinder or coarsely cracking it in a sealed zip top storage bag. This is particularly a good idea if you are adding any overpowering flavors like cloves, cumin, or juniper. To test out your homemade pickling spice, try it in the following 1-pint test batch brine.

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Shop Pickling Items
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Test Batch Quick Pickle Brine

Ingredients:

1 clean pint jar with lid

½ to 1 lb. veggies of choice, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces

1 cup water

½ cup white or apple cider vinegar

¾ Tbsp. kosher salt

1 to 1 ½ tsp. homemade pickling spice blend

Directions: Pack veggies into pint jar. Bring water, vinegar, salt, and pickling spice blend to boil. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour into jar to cover veggies. Let cool to room temperature then seal and refrigerate. Taste after 24 hours to determine if you like the flavors.

DIY RECIPES
To help you get started making your own homemade pickling spices here are five flavor combos I put together that you can tweak to make you own. Now, get pickling!

Mustardy Pickling Spice

DIY Mustardy Pickling Spice is great for pickled mushrooms and onions.

Yields about 2 Tbsp.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. regular yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp. brown mustard seeds

1 tsp. black mustard seeds

½ tsp. coriander seeds

½ tsp. cumin seeds

½ tsp. fennel seeds

¼ tsp. dehydrated minced garlic

¼ tsp. Malabar black peppercorns

Great for pickling: Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, or cucumbers.

Notes: A sprig of fresh tarragon, parsley, or both would pair well with this blend. Simply pack the fresh herbs into the jar of whatever you’re pickling. You could also consider adding a touch of honey.

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and use about 1 to 1 ½ tsp. of the spice blend per pint of pickled goods. To bring out the full flavor, toast the spice blend in a skillet over medium heat for 1 to 3 min., or until aromatic, before adding to your pickling brine.

Sweet Pickling Spice

DIY Sweet Pickling Spice is great for pickling stone fruits, like plums or peaches.

Yields about 2 Tbsp.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. allspice berries

1 (3-inch) Indonesian cinnamon stick

2 tsp. blade mace

1 tsp. coriander seeds

½ tsp. cracked ginger

¼ tsp. anise seeds

¼ tsp. inner cardamom seeds

4 cloves

Great for pickling: Stone fruits, beets, watermelon rind, green tomatoes, or bread & butter pickles.

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and use about 1 to 1 ½ tsp. of the spice blend per pint of pickled goods. To bring out the full flavor, toast the spice blend in a skillet over medium heat for 1 to 3 min., or until aromatic, before adding to your pickling brine.

Sweet & Spicy Pickling Spice

DIY Sweet & Spicy Pickling Spice is great for carrots and fennel.

Yields about 2 Tbsp.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon chips

1 tsp. allspice berries

1 tsp. cracked ginger

1 tsp. yellow hot oriental mustard seeds

1 tsp. Mysore green peppercorns

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

2 cloves

Great for pickling: Jalapeños, watermelon rind, beets, onions, carrots, or fennel.

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and use about 1 to 1 ½ tsp. of the spice blend per pint of pickled goods. To bring out the full flavor, toast the spice blend in a skillet over medium heat for 1 to 3 min., or until aromatic, before adding to your pickling brine.

Herb & Savory Pickling Spice

DIY Herb & Savory Pickling Spice is great for sweet bell peppers.

Yields about 2 Tbsp.

Ingredients:

1 tsp. brown mustard seeds

1 tsp. caraway seeds

1 tsp. dill seeds

1 tsp. charnushka seeds

½ tsp. allspice berries

½ tsp. Malabar black peppercorns

½ tsp. cracked rosemary

½ tsp. premium French thyme

1 quarter of a Turkish bay leaf, cracked into pieces (about ¼ tsp. cracked bay leaf)

4 juniper berries

Great for pickling: Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, mushrooms, summer squash, bell peppers, or green beans.

Notes: A sprig of fresh parsley, dill, or both would pair well with this spice blend. Simply pack the fresh herbs into the jar of whatever you’re pickling.

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and use about 1 to 1 ½ tsp. of the spice blend per pint of pickled goods. To bring out the full flavor, toast the spice blend in a skillet over medium heat for 1 to 3 min., or until aromatic, before adding to your pickling brine.

Southeast Asian Pickling Spice

DIY Southeast Asian Pickling Spice is great for watermelon rind.

Yields about 2 Tbsp.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. coriander seeds

2 tsp dehydrated minced white onion

1 tsp. white sesame seeds

1 tsp. black sesame seeds

1 tsp. cracked ginger

1 tsp. dehydrated lemon peel

½ tsp. cracked galangal root

½ tsp. dehydrated minced garlic

½ tsp. Szechwan peppercorns

1 Makrut lime leaf

1 dried Thai chile

1 whole star anise (or ½ tsp. broken star anise pieces)

Great for pickling: Green beans, jalapeños, radishes, watermelon rind, or stone fruits.

Notes: A sprig of fresh cilantro, parsley, or both would pair well with this spice blend. Simply pack the fresh herbs into the jar of whatever you’re pickling. You could also consider adding a touch of honey.

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and use about 1 to 1 ½ tsp. of the spice blend per pint of pickled goods. To bring out the full flavor, toast the spice blend in a skillet over medium heat for 1 to 3 min., or until aromatic, before adding to your pickling brine.

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