Pickling Spice is often perceived as an old-fashioned spice blend–one your grandma most likely kept in her pantry. We’re here to convince you it deserves a place in your spice rack as well!
Pickling Fun Fact: Christopher Columbus’s pickle merchant was Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci’s pickled fruits, vegetables, and meats are believed to have kept Columbus’s crew from suffering from scurvy!
Where does Pickling Spice Come From?
Although pickles are as old as time and are found in every food culture around the world, the pickle tradition we are familiar with here in the United States most likely came early in our history from England. Along with that tradition came Pickling Spice. Most early American cookbooks featured Pickling Spice recipes and many of those recipes were called English Pickle Spice.
Pickling Fun Fact: Napoleon Bonaparte offered a reward to the tune of $250,000 (in today’s dollars) to anyone who could figure out how to preserve food for France’s troops. Nicolas Appert won the reward with his new method of sealing pickles by removing the air and then adding wax to the top.
What is Pickling Spice made of?
Pickling Spice is a mixture of whole and/or crushed spices blended to stand up well to the pickling process.
Pickling Spice can contain many different combinations of spices, herbs, and chiles.
At SpiceTopia, we hand blend our own Pickling Spice recipe with organic ingredients. This is a pickling blend that our family has been using for over twenty years. The special ingredients include:
- Brown mustard seed
- Black pepper
- Whole cloves
- Dill seed
- Bay leaves
- Star anise
- Thai bird chile
How to Use Pickling Spice?
If you have Pickling Spice on hand, you can make pickles with any fresh produce. One of our favorite ways to use pickling spice is when we have produce that would otherwise go to waste.
Do you need something to do with green beans you meant to add to the meal you never made? Or did you fall in love with those juicy peaches at the farmer’s market and buy more than you can eat right now? Pickle them!
How Much Pickling Spice To Use?
The answer to this question is really about your own individual taste. Most guidelines suggest 1 tablespoon of Pickling Spice per quart or 4 cups of vinegar mixture. We like to be heavy-handed with Pickling Spice and usually start with 1 tablespoon of Pickling Spice per pint or 2 cups of pickling brine. Feel free to experiment and see how much you prefer.
You can find step-by-step ingredients for creating refrigerator pickles as well as several delicious pickle recipes here:
Pickling Fun Fact: In 2000, the Philadelphia Eagles claimed their ability to play well in high temperatures was due to drinking pickle juice. And there just might be something to that as studies have shown that drinking pickle juice relieves cramps 37% faster than drinking water!
Keep in mind that Pickling Spice can be used to season more than pickles. We use it when making homemade BBQ sauce. It also adds a deep savory flavor to a pot of beans. Just make sure to use a bouquet garni bag, so the spices can be removed before serving.
Have we convinced you? Will Pickling Spice be a new addition to your spice rack?
The Story of Pickling Spice
The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs by Padma Lakshmi