If you are going to preserve by pickling you are obviously going to need pickling spices. Pickling spice is most often used for canning pickles, but can also be used for preserving other dishes. You can find plenty of pre-packaged pickling spices in the grocery store, but it is very easy to mix a batch together using the spices already at home on your kitchen shelves.
The main ingredients in a pickling spice usually consist of a blend of: cinnamon, mustard seed, bay leaves, allspice, dill seed, cloves, ginger, peppercorns, coriander, juniper berries, mace, and cardamom. There are plenty of ways for blending these spices for a variety of flavors.
Half the fun of preserving and pickling is to develop a recipe that is individual to your tastes. For example, if you prefer a hotter mix you can always add crushed hot peppers.
Here is the Basic Recipe I use when pickling cucumbers.
4 Tablespoons Mustard Seed
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1 Tablespoon whole Allspice
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2 teaspoons Coriander Seeds
2 teaspoons Black Peppercorns
1 teaspoon Dill Seed
1 Bay Leaf crumbled
4 whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick (optional)
Combine all ingredients. If adding Cinnamon Stick, place stick in a plastic bag and crush into small pieces before combining. Makes approximatly 1/4 cup. Stores in an airtight jar or container for 6 months.