If you like the idea of making your own chutney, pickles or ferments with seasonal fruit & veg, you’ll need Pickling Spice. This combination of particular spices has been used by preservers for centuries, and gives a wonderfully balanced, rounded flavour profile. Particularly for pickles and ferments, whole spices are preferred, as they add lots of flavour but don’t cause the vinegar/brine to go cloudy. The spices also retain their flavour for longer in the pantry if they’re whole rather than ground.
You’ll find the same spices in most blends, and can even find a very similar mix to this available at most supermarkets. Don’t get sucked into buying small amounts of it in plastic packaging though: It’s better for the planet (and your preserves, thanks to the freshness) to make your own!
Here’s our blend:
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp allspice pimento berries
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp dill seeds
1 large dried bay leaf, crumbled
Mix it all together, and store in an airtight jar where it will last for months and months. We normally make up a big batch in November so we’ve got lots on hand for summer/autumn preserving.