We attended this spectacular Kosher dill pickle making event a month ago:
The gist of the thing is that Rabbi Marcus, a young orthodox rabbi from Long Beach (who speaks inexplicably with a Brooklyn orthodox patois), was taught by a recently departed 90+ year old New York dill pickle maker the secrets to making an honest to goodness old fashioned salt fermented pickle, like the kind you would have gotten from barrels in New York's lower east side in the early to mid 20th century (there's only one or two left now).
Fresh salt fermented pickles are tricky, because they don't use vinegar or any preservatives to keep them fresh. They're really in top form as full sours with a great crunch only for a couple of weeks, before they start to get waterlogged and a little mushy.
Anyway, one of the things that Rabbi Marcus mentioned is the pickling spice-- he said that none of the pickle making companies make their own, and that it's always purchased in bulk, but that it is always more or less the same.
Any mention of spices sends me rushing to Penzey's, where I purchased their pickling spice mixture. I made a batch of pickles with me newfound knowledge of picklery and....
Well, not so good.
The batch I made with Rabbi Marcus' pickling blend at the event was perfect. The pickles I made with Penzey's mixture tasted overwhelmingly of cloves, which should not be a prominent flavor in a kosher dill. (Probably more suited to a sweet midwestern bread and butter pickle rather than a traditional New York sour dill). Additionally, the mixture did not contain any dried red peppers.
So, my question for the pickle making hounds is this:
Where can one find a proper mixture of KOSHER DILL pickling spice? I don't recall Rabbi Marcus' blend containing any cloves whatsoever (and after a lifetime of eating kosher dills, I've never tasted it in a brine before). I'm thinking about heading to A-1 and seeing if they'll sell me a small quantity.