Well, St. St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for corned beef and cabbage, but you’ll need the corned beef first and a good pickling spice before that. I will therefore be posting my recipe for homemade corned beef, but before we get started, you will need a pickling spice, which you can find here.
- 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns.
- 3 inches cinnamon sticks, total length.
- 2 tablespoon dill seeds.
- 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes.
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, any color.
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds.
- 1 tablespoon celery seeds.
- 4 bay leaves.
What is pickling spice?
Pickling spice is a blend of spices used to pickle fruits, vegetables and meats. According to PBS’s The History Kitchen, pickling is a technique that has been around for thousands of years as a method to preserve food.
A key step in the curing and pickling process, the technique calls for mixing whole seeds, berries, and spices with a salt or sugar brine.
When using pickling spice, you can either combine it with the brine ingredients, as is typical when preparing foods like corned beef brisket, or use it separately. If you’re making smaller, more delicate dishes like pickled red onions, you can also wrap the spices in a piece of cheesecloth.
The whole berries and seeds can flavor the brine because of the cheesecloth. Because the whole spices are quite hard, you shouldn’t eat them. Instead, they serve as a tea bag-like enhancement to the brine.
Start your grocery store visit when looking for this spice blend in the Hispanic foods section. Small bags of whole spices are frequently available at discounted prices.
- Whole Allspice Berries: The dried berry known as allspice is found on the pimento tree. It is very popular in Jamaican cuisine. In fact, jerk chicken is made from the tree’s wood. Allspice tastes warm and autumn-like.
- Cardamom Pods: Cardamom is part of the ginger family. The seeds in the pods have a faint citrus and mint flavor.
- Whole Cloves: Whole cloves, which are actually dried flowers, give autumn its signature flavor.
- Coriander Seeds: The same plant that yields cilantro leaves also yields coriander seeds. However, these seeds do not taste soapy. They are more herbaceous and citrusy.
- Whole peppercorns: Whole peppercorns offer a spicy, but not overpowering, bite. They are available in a range of hues, including white, green, and pink. Black peppercorns are the most common. Green peppercorns taste brighter, pink peppercorns taste more fruity, and white peppercorns are milder.
- Yellow Mustard Seeds: These seeds are used to make yellow mustard when ground and combined with other ingredients. They have a slightly acidic flavor, which is ideal for pickles.
- Red pepper flakes that have been crushed: If you like a little heat, use red pepper flakes that have been crushed. Adjust the amount to your heat preference.
- Fennel Seeds: The mildly sweet flavor of fennel seeds has a licorice or anise-like flavor.
- Orange Zest: Orange peel that has already been dried or fresh orange zest can both be found in the spice aisle.
- Using cinnamon sticks rather than ground cinnamon permits more of the cinnamon’s natural oils to release into the brine.
- Bay Leaves: Spaghetti sauce, pork adobo, and pot roast are three dishes that frequently feature bay leaves in cooking. Their earthy, slightly minty flavor helps bring dishes together.
Alternatives: You can also add dill seed or stir fresh dill into your pickling cucumbers if you prefer dill pickles.
For serving sizes and a complete list of ingredients, see the full recipe card below.
How to make homemade pickling spice
Once you have all of the necessary ingredients, this recipe is very simple and can be prepared ahead of time and kept for at least six months.
- STEP ONE: Start by crushing each cinnamon stick. Put them in a plastic bag, and use a meat mallet to beat them. Place those in a small bowl. Then, add each bay leaf to the bowl by crushing it between your hands.
- Step two is to combine the remaining pickling spice ingredients in the bowl.
How to use homemade pickling spice
You can use your pickling spice mixture to create homemade pickles once it has been combined. When I make my Bread and Butter Pickles, I combine 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture with a few other ingredients, such as white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and pickling cucumbers.
You don’t have to limit yourself to cucumber pickles. Pickling other vegetables like red onions, beets, green beans, or cauliflower is a good idea.
Additionally, homemade pastrami and corned beef brisket are made using pickling spice. Brine the meat in it for several days by combining it with water, brown sugar, and curing salt. The meat should then be seasoned with Homemade Pastrami Rub and smoked until tender.
The pickling spice mixture should be kept in a cool, dark area, such as your pantry or spice cabinet, in an airtight container like a glass jar.
It should last for six months if you use fresh orange zest. It can keep for up to a year if you use dried orange zest.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- To purchase whole spices for less money, look in the Hispanic foods aisle.
- Start with the freshest spices you can find
- When combining the spices with more delicate vegetables, place the spices in a cheesecloth.
No. Allspice is one of the many ingredients in pickling spice. Whole berries, seeds, and herbs are combined to create pickling spice, which is used to season meats and pickle vegetables.
Yes. To make a brine for corned beef, pickling spice is combined with water, sugar, and curing salt.
Pickling spice will last for 6 to 12 months if you keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dark location, like your pantry. You can still use it after that, but the spices won’t be as flavorful and vibrant.
Recipes that Use Pickling Spice
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- ▢ 2 tbsp whole allspice
- ▢ 2 tbsp cardamom pods
- ▢ 2 tbsp whole cloves
- ▢ 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- ▢ 1 tbsp red pepper flakes*
- ▢ 2 tsp cinnamon sticks broken
- ▢ 3 bay leaves crumbled
- ▢ 1 tsp orange zest
- In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients. Use right away to make pickles or pastrami brine, or use later by storing in a jar.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
Homemade Pickling Spice.
What can I use instead of pickling spice for corned beef?
When making corned beef, there are a number of pickling spice alternatives. Whole allspice berries, mustard seeds, dill seeds, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and coriander seeds can all be combined. Alternately, you could also combine equal parts of ground cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.
What is pickling spice made of?
Ingredients for pickling spices can include allspice, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mustard seeds, and peppercorns (usually whole or in coarse pieces). Pre-packaged pickling spice mixes are sold in most supermarkets.
Is corned beef seasoning the same as pickling spice?
Peppercorns, bay leaves, mustard seeds, dill seeds, and at least a few other whole spices, all with warm and robust flavors, make up the majority of a typical corned beef seasoning packet, though brands vary.
What can I use instead of pickling spice?
Because whole or coarse spices are the distinguishing feature of pickling spice mix, any mixture containing the whole, primary ingredients can be used as a substitute. This includes dill, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, and so forth.