Herbal Canning: Gardener’s Pickling Spice

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Food-Matters/herbal-canning-gardeners-pickling-spice.aspx

E.McIntoshErin is the Communications Manager at Mountain Rose Herbs and an apprenticing herbalist at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies, where she botanizes and wildcrafts medicinal plants in the magnificent Oregon Cascades. www.mountainroseherbs.com 

Our gardens are finally swelling with sun-kissed fruits and veggies here in the Pacific Northwest. Preserving these gems of summer now will bring much pleasure during the deep cold months of winter as I pop open jar after jar of colorful sauces, jams, salsas and chutney.

pickled nettles
Photo courtesy Erin McIntosh 

Of course, another classic canning technique is pickling. Try this wonderfully herby and spicy recipe for pickling all of your garden favorites. Experiment with cauliflower florets, pearl onions, peppers, carrots, fresh garlic cloves, green beans, watermelon rind or my favorite stinging nettle leaves—harvested before the plant flowers or goes to seed—for a unique and nutritious treat! Feel free to customize the blend by playing with the ratios or add other spices that call to you from the rack.

Gardener’s Pickling Spice 

• 3 tablespoons whole mustard seed
• 3 tablespoons rainbow peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon whole allspice
• 1 tablespoon hulled cardamom
• 3 teaspoons whole coriander seed
• 1 teaspoon mace powder
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 3 whole cloves
• 2 red chili peppers, dried and crushed
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cinnamon stick

1. Mix all ingredients together in a storage jar and use with your tried-n-true pickling recipe.

2. Be sure to label and date your creations.

Your homemade pickles will be a big hit when used to make unique charcuterie plates, or when prepared as a delicious gift set decorated with fabric tops and twine. Yum!

What’s your favorite pickling recipe or creative dish using pickled veggies?