There are several ingredients in this pickling spice recipe which are potential reactors for some of us. Nevertheless it has a lot of ingredients which should cover for the absence of the more common spices used. This adapted from a recipe I originally found at: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/7491/pickling-spice.aspx
Use between 7 and 10 of the following depending on personal taste and sensitivity to ingredients. Feel free to vary quantities, e.g. increase number of peppercorns if you omit the chilli, or increase the amount of celery, fennel or cumin seed if you omit the mustard.
- 1 small dried red chili
- 1 (2.5cm) section dried root ginger
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons black Mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons coriander seed
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon dill seed
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 2 teaspoons celery seed
- 2 teaspoons blade mace, crushed
- 1 teaspoon English mace, dried and crumbled (if you grow it in your garden)
- 8 small bay leaves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried winter savory (if you grow it in your garden)
This is going to be down to your tastebuds as well as what you can get hold of. Now obviously you can’t just taste a spoonful of spices, so get your nose into the bowl and have a good sniff – your sense of smell will really help to determine if you will like the combo you have prepared. Try with just a tiny amount rather than making the whole lot if you aren’t sure (e.g. 1/2 teaspoon in place of a tablespoon and a pinch in place of a teaspoon).
Once you’ve got your pickling spice prepared, you can go on to make many standard textbook pickle recipes
Pickled gherkins or baby onions
This recipe uses your nice shiny new pickling spice and is great if you’re trying to grow cucumbers or onions and are left with nothing but minatures…..
25 small gherkins or 25 small onions
600ml white vinegar
1 tablespoon pickling spice
(tip for sterilising your jar – use a kilner-type jar with a proper rubber seal and clip fastener. Put a folded, clean teetowel on the bottom of a big pan in which the entire jar can be sumberged. Fill with water and sumberge the open jar, lid and seal, ensuring that you knock any air bubbles out of the jar. Bring to the boil, then turn heat off and leave jar under water until you need it. If you boil the jar just before you start cooking the pickle it will stay sterile).
1. Place the gherkins or onions in a saucepan and add the salt and water.
2. Heat almost to boiling point, but do not allow it to actually boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Drain the salty water from the pan and let the gherkins/onions cool.
4. While the gherkins/onions are cooling, place the vinegar and pickling spice in a saucepan. Bring to the boil for a minute and then remove from the heat.
5. Pack the gherkins/onions into a sterile jar and pour on the hot spiced vinegar. Seal jar straight away. (It should not need re-sterilising as vinegar is a preservative and the jar would have been sterile beforehand).