Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pickling Spice Mix

It's always been a dream of mine to have a big vegetable garden, but over the years something always stood in my way- living in an apartment or out of the country, being hugely pregnant, having a colicky newborn or a 1 year old that wouldn't stop eating rocks and dirt. But this year with a 2 year old who could safely play in the yard while I gardened I finally got my wish!

It was a bit of an experiment this year, but my best crop so far has been a spur of the moment choice at the garden center- pickling cucumbers! Every time a bunch ripen I make a couple jars of pickles out of them. I LOVE pickles. I think everybody does.

Pickling Spice Mix (makes enough for an army of pickles)

2 tablespoons peppercorns
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
8 bay leaves crumbled
1 cinnamon stick crumbled

I put my cinnamon stick in a bag and smashed it with a wrench to get it into little bits.

What else you'll need (for each jar of pickles)

1 pint (500 ml) Mason jar
2-3 large pickling cucumbers, sliced
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1.5 teaspoons pickling or sea salt
1 sprig of fresh dill
1 clove garlic, peeled

Use 1 teaspoon of pickling spice for every pint jar of pickles made. Place pickling spice, dill, garlic and sliced pickles in the jar.

Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil in a saucepan and then pour it into the jar on top of the cucumbers. Seal and cool, then store in the fridge. Pickles will be ready to eat in 2 weeks and last for at least 2 months. If you want pickles to store in the cupboard all winter you have to sterilize the jars and then boil them again once they are full and sealed. I don't have a big enough pot so I had to make 'refrigerator pickles'. I can't see them lasting more than 2 months in my house anyway...

Once you have waited the 2 weeks for your pickles (or in my case 12 days as I cheated), your pickles will be ready to eat and looking very pickle-licious. Nom nom nom....

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