Got a craving for a little something? When a cookie won't do, potato chips are a no-no and rice cakes are a bore, why not reach for a crunchy pickle?!
While you may not have thought of them as a snack, pickles make a terrific munchie. For one thing, low-calorie pickles--there's only 15 in a large dill and it won't ruin appetites or destroy diets. And while there's no fat in pickled vegetables, there's good nutrition.
Snacking on 1/8 cup of pickles counts as one of the 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables the USDA recommends.
Of course, the best and easiest way to nosh on pickles is right from the jar and out of hand. Some companies have developed pickles specifically for snacking!
In a previous blog post I showed you in my Youtube video how to make quick and easy pickles right at home!
Here I will give you a basic recipe for your very own Spice Mix!
You will be familiar with most of the spices used in my recipes. Other than Tumeric, most of the time you should use whole spices. For example, you would use Cinnamon sticks, NOT ground Cinnamon.
Though I put ground nutmeg in my recipes because it is easier to access, I normally use the whole nutmeg. I carefully smash it with a hammer 3 or 4 times and then process it until very coarse in my spice blender. The flavor is 100% better.
If you will be using large quantities of spices, check out bulk prices online or on Amazon.com. There are some amazing bargains, especially for Cinnamon sticks and black peppercorns unless you have access to a local bulk supplier.
The two more unusual spices I use are Star Anise and whole Cardamon pods. If you live in a larger city, you can likely find these in Chinese or Indian markets.
If you cannot acess these spices locally, Amazon will have these spices on your doorstep within two days.
Pickling Spice is actually a mixture of different spices. The same combination was used so often, some brilliant packager decided to charge you extra for measuring out the spices.
If you are going to just be making a jar or two, go ahead and buy the packaged variety, you will find it in 2ounce packages in the stores. I've occasionally seen pickling spice in bulk-bins at not so bad prices.
If you are going to be making a couple of dozen jars, make your own spice mix It's easy and cheaper.
Pickling Spice Mix
Makes one cup spice mix (store in an eight-ounce canning jar)
Note: I usually make one jar with the cinnamon and nutmeg (for sweeter pickle mixes), and one jar without.
5 tablespoons brown or yellow mustard seed
3 tablespoons whole allspice
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons dill seed
10 whole cloves, slightly crushed and broken apart
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
10 bay leaves, crumbled
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg (optional)
1 long cinnamon stick (6-8 inches broken into very small pieces (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Funnel into a clean 8-ounce canning jar and lightly seal
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