Pickle Spice

I’ve been making pickles all summer. At first my pickling cucumber vines produced only a few little cucumbers per picking, and I had to save them up in the fridge all week just to get enough for three pint jars. But then they took off! And that’s when I offered a little prayer of thanks that I’d mixed up a time-saving batch of pickling spice early on.  

Last summer, and the summer before, I experimented with pickle flavors. I found various seeds and spices I liked, and I painstakingly measured each one individually into each jar of pickles. It added quite a bit of time to the process. This year, I thought… Why am I doing this?

I measured my favorite spices into a jar in the proportions that matched the balance of flavors that work best. Then I added in some Pickle Crisp, which I get at the grocery store with all the canning supplies. The final step, believe it or not, was to measure out a half-teaspoon of the finished spice mix and pick out all the Pickle Crisp into a measuring spoon, to make sure my calculations were correct and each scoop would have one-eighth teaspoon of the little granules. (I was correct, and it added up. Phew!)  

  You’ll notice there’s no dill in this recipe. That’s because I like to use fresh dill in my jars. If you prefer to use dill seed, just add some in and increase the amount of Pickle Crisp accordingly. 

Now when I make pickles, in addition to garlic, dill, and brine (and cucumbers, of course), I just dump a half-teaspoon of my spice mix into the top of each jar. No more individual measuring and counting of seeds! 
 Here’s my recipe:

Mix together well in a container with a tightly-fitting lid the following ingredients:               

  •  1 T mustard seeds       
  •  1 T coriander seeds
  • 1 T Pickle Crisp granules
  • 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns 
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Add 1/2 teaspoon per pint of cucumber dill pickles. Stir jar of pickling spice before each use. For zucchini dill pickles, add an additional 1/8 teaspoon Pickle Crisp per pint, but expect them to still be softer than cucumber pickles. Follow a recipe for adding brine and processing jars.