Pickled onions and green beans made from scratch taste worlds better than they’re store-bought counterparts, but the key is to use the perfect combo of pickling spices for your favorite veggie garnishes. Fortunately, crafting your own pucker-y spice blend is simple—especially with this recipe from Linda Ziedrich’s revised edition of The Joy of Pickling (Harvard Common Press 2009).
One 4-inch cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
6 Mediterranean bay leaves, torn into small pieces
6 small dried hot peppers, such as japonés or de árbol, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
2 tsp. whole allspice berries
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 tsp. whole coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. blade (unground) mace
1 Tbsp. dill seeds
Combine all of the ingredients in a small jar. Mix thoroughly before measuring. If the spices are fresh to start and you keep the jar tightly capped in a cool, dark place, the mixture should keep well for at least one year.