What is it that adds flavor to an otherwise ordinary and bland food? Be it any kind of food, everyone loves flavors, and it's the spices that add the flavor. They not only make the food tasty and appealing, but also the aroma of it is pleasing to the senses. So we can say that spices are an important part of every cuisine.
When we speak of flavor and aroma, there is one food item that cannot be overlooked, and that is pickles. Pickles impart a burst of flavor, as soon as they are put in the mouth. These overpowering olfactory and gustatory kicks are caused due to the presence of pickling spices.
Pickling spice basically is a type of seasoning made using a variety of spices. Different combination of spices bringing different flavor and aroma. It is used for both cooking and canning purposes.
There's not just one ingredient that goes into the making of pickling spice. It is a blend of many ingredients, and that's what gives flavor during the pickling process or adds flavor to dishes, especially to those containing meat etc.
Nowadays, one can indeed purchase prepackaged or ready-made mixes available at the grocery stores and supermarkets, but making it at home is not that difficult a job, and is also an enjoyable and pleasurable experience.
One can try a combination of different spices and make their signature spice mixes. To give you some ideas, we provide to you some of the very easy to make and aromatic recipes, that can also be added to regular food recipes.
- ½ cup black peppercorns
- 1 cup mustard seeds
- ½ cup dill seeds
- ½ cup cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup whole allspice
- ½ cup whole cloves
- 6 dried and crushed red pepper
- ¼ cup cardamom seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup ground coriander
- 12 dried and crushed bay leaves
If you do not wish to add strong-flavored spices in its whole form, an easy way is to tie the spice mix in a cheesecloth or a muslin bag, and simply drop it in the desired dish in which you wish to infuse the flavors.
Remember, this technique can only be used for spices in its whole form and not powdered. Powdered mix can be added depending on the level of pungency that one wants to bring in the dish.
- ½ cup cloves
- ½ cup cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup coriander seeds
- ½ cup mustard seeds
- ½ cup peppercorns
- 3-4 red chillies (dried)
- 4-5 bay leaves (dried)
These spice recipes can also be ground together and added in curry based recipes. In fact it could be used in a variety of ways in different recipes. There is no substitute as such, because these spices could be a mix of different spices according to the flavors you'd want.
It could be used to make cold spice vinegar. For this, put the spice mix in a saucepan and pour vinegar over it. Allow it boil and then take the saucepan off fire and let it cool. When it cools off, strain the vinegar, discard the whole spices and use it for the relevant recipes.
Similarly to make cold spice vinegar, either tie the spices in a piece of cheesecloth and drop it in a jar of vinegar or add the spice mix as it is in the vinegar. Leave the vinegar and spice mix for a couple of days and... voila! Cold spice vinegar is ready to be used.