pickled onions

The Knight in Shining Armor thinned the onion patch, and brought the Damsel these:

There were just too darn many onions crowding the patch. Since he wants BIG onions, something had to give. When the Damsel saw these, it reminded her of jars she’s seen of pickled onions, and thought she’d give it a go.

The Damsel executed her Google-fu. Dizzying numbers of pickled onion recipes clogged the results. The Damsel is ashamed to admit she’s never made pickled onions before, or even eaten them, so it was tough to choose. But most recipes had a few things in common. 1. a salt soak 2. covering in vinegar 3. spices. So the Damsel added them all up, divided by the number of recipes, and arrived at an average.

One site gave her hope: it said pickled onions were very easy…a great first project for the aspiring pickler. So on she pressed.

First make the brine. This is a fancy word for “salt water.” Use the ratio of 1 cup salt to 2 quarts cold water, according to how many onions you are doing. You just need enough to cover them. Stir until the salt is suspended.

Skin the little darlings, then nick off the root and top. Don’t take much off or they’ll separate into their layers. You know how onions are.

As you complete them, throw them into the brine. The salt water is supposed to help keep them crisp. Apparently soft pickled onions are yucky.

Put a plate, weighted with a cup of water, on top of the onions to keep them submerged in their salt bath. Or any other way you can think of to keep them from floating out of the brine. They must sit there, just like that, for 24 hours.

The Damsel hates waiting. She’s said that before.

When the 24 hours has elapsed, drain the brine and rinse well.

Pack the onions into clean glass jars. These will not be heated, so you don’t need to use canning jars if you don’t want to. You can use old pickle jars, jam jars, whatever.

Add “some” pickling spice. The Damsel used 1 tablespoon per quart. There are lots of recipes out there if you want to make your own pickling spice, or pick up a bottle at most grocery stores.

Bay leaf is one of the traditional spices for pickled onions, so the Damsel added a whole bay leaf to each jar. (even though it was one of the ingredients in the pickling spice. She just wanted to)

Fill the jars with vinegar. It’s up to you what kind. The Damsel read of using plain, apple cider, malt, etc. She used apple cider vinegar. Fill the jars completely, not worrying about “head space” and whatnot since the jars will not be heated. The onions should be covered.

Now the hardest step of all. Put lids on, and then set these away in a dark, cool place for THREE STINKING MONTHS!!! The Damsel hates waiting! But it must be done. Life is full of these difficult moments, but set your jaw with determination and go forward.

5 thoughts on “pickled onions

    • Most of the thingies I saw using pickled onions were just serving them alongside meat, especially roast pork or beef. But they are especially traditional in the UK with fish and chips.

      I saw a few salad recipes using them too. Hope they’re good! I’ll find out in THREE STINKING MONTHS.

  1. When I saw the tea cup, I thought you were going to recommend a nice sip while you wait but alas! It was not to be. I would LOVE a recipe that says “sip tea while you keep your onions submerged for 24 hours.” THAT would be a recipie I’d try!

    • oh yes, and when the husband comes home and wants to know what you’ve been doing all day, you say, “I’ve been keeping the onions submerged.”

  2. Have cheese and pickled onion sandwiches, ploughmans with alsorts of pickles and chunky bread, made these before and are handsome.

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