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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pickling Spice Blend

I normally don't do much in the way of canning pickles other than the specialty pickles like pickled beets, pickled cauliflower and pickled onions.  I don't know what the problem was with dill pickles as I tried the same recipe every year with the same results, limp pickles.  I make freezer pickles each year that are a very nice, easy to make bread and butter style pickle and I resorted to buying dill pickles but they contain sodium benzoate and yellow dye 5 two food additives we are trying to avoid.  We do a lot of entertaining and one of our guests who cannot have gluten mentioned he can have pickles.  During one of our regular monthly get togethers, I put out a dish of dill pickles.  They were gone in an instant!  I refilled the dish and those went as well.  So I am determined to conquer making cucumber pickles.

Over the past few days, I have made Zesty Bread 'N Butter pickles, kosher dill pickles, dill slices, bread & butter pickles, freezer pickled and set up a 5 gallon pail of fermented dills.  So today, I went to can the fresh packed dill pickles that has soaked overnight only to find myself running low on pickling spice.  We live in a small community of about 11,000 and have just lost Sobey's so only have No Frills and Walmart for groceries.  About a year ago a small bulk food shop set up and we have M & M Meats for specialty frozen foods as well as a butcher shop and tiny artisan bakery.  Home canning is rather popular here especially for jams and pickles.  I have always been able to buy pickling spice at No Frills.  They are no longer carrying it.  I went to the small bulk food shop where I did find pickling spice then hurried home to get my pickles processed.  Lesson leaned, I will be stocking up on the ingredients to make my own pickling spice.  Here is the recipe.

Pickling Spice Blend
source: Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard, Small- Batch Preserving, (2001), Pp. 141.

Combine 2 tbsp (25 ml) each:
  • allspice berries
  • cardamom seeds
  • coriander seeds
  • whole cloves
  • mustard seeds
  • peppercorns
Add 2 bay leaves, crumbled; 2 cinnamon sticks, broken' 2 small pieces dried gingerroot, chopped, and 2 dried red chilies, drushed or 1 - 2 tsp (5 - 10 ml) hot pepper flakes.

Store in a tightly sealed container until ready to use.

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