Musings and photos of my attempts to create edible food.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Pickled Onions

I have never pickled anything before. It has been on my to-do list for years (my culinary to-do list is diverse, mostly in my head and only partially shared with a few people). Whilst at the farm shop I discovered they had pickling onions in stock. Suddenly a reckless urge overcame me as I looked at this box full of shiny, brown onions and before I knew it I was asking my wife to pick up vinegar on the way home from work!

Many of the things on my to-do list involve traditional methods of preseving: smoking, curing, salting, pickling, fermenting... I want to do them all! At some point I'll get round to trying some more of these, and when I do pictures will follow. But for now, on to the onions...


  • 600g pickling onions (small)
  • 40g salt
  • 400ml vinegar
  • 3 blades of mace
  • 1 tsp juniper berries
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 lump of cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp of corriander seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

  1. Step one - peel the onions. Lots of them. Those who know me will realise this was a mistake. I start crying before I finish chopping even one onion. I am not sure what possessed me to buy an entire pile of them to peel at the same time. I do have one avoidance method - goggles. A snorkel mask lives in the kitchen cupboard (much to the amusement of my brother in law who decided to do the washing up in it for some reason). Despite this, I managed to peel them all in only an hour or so. Right about this point, shop-bought pickled onions looked really tempting!
  2. Step two - Salt the onions and leave overnight to draw-out as much excess moisture as possible.
  3. Step three - Rinse and drain. Most of the salt should have dissolved in onion juice and the onions should be ready for pickling.
  4. Step four - Add the spices to the vinegar and pack with the onions into jam jars. (Some recipes involve boiling the vinegar and spices and leaving to cool, and some just involve it all sitting in the jars. I opted for the throw-it-all-in-a-jar method.)
  5. Step five - Sit in a cupboard for at least 3 weeks.  Results to be announced...

Update - The Results (5 weeks later):

The onions are nicely pickled and perfect with some mature cheese (gooey brie in this case) and crusty bread. The onions have browned slightly from using black peppercorns, but the flavours from the spices are coming out nicely. I might make half the next batch with chilli to give it some more kick, but I shall have no problem with polishing-off these first!


Post a Comment