Monday, 10 November 2008

Making pickled onions



These are one of the easiest of pickles to make, very popular to eat, and make great presents. If you grow your own, shallots make the best pickled onions, but this time of year you can buy pickling onions and shallots by the pound/kilo from teh greengrocer or market. Peeling isn't the pleasantest job, granted, but i try to do as many as I can all at once, to lessen the pain LOL. This jar in the picture is the very last of the shallots form the garden, and we'll have them on Boxing Day. Brining helps to keep the onions crisp.

Have ready a big bowl or container of brine, using 1 oz salt to 1 pint of cold water.Only use sound onions, top and tail them, then peel them, place directly into the brine. Cover, and leave for 24 hours. Meanwhile, get jars ready; ones with plastic lids are ideal, as sometimes the vinegar can react with metal on the lids. Having said that, I have used Kilner jars successfully in the past. After 24 hours, drain the onions and rinse well. Pack them into jars and pour over vinegar to cover. I use plain, cold vinegar, as that's our favourite here. For spiced vinegar, you can buy ready spiced, which can go in cold, or you can make your own by heating up vinegar to a simmer with spices added. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then remove the spices, leave to cool, then pour over onions. For presents, you can add other bits to teh jar themselves, eg strips of red pepper, bay leaves, peppercorns (pink green and white look pretty), garlic, chillies, etc. Be warned, though, the vinegar and pickling time and action can intensify the heat and spiciness! Seal and label, and leave for 6 weeks before use.

10 comments:

Susan said...

Just in time for Christmas - great! Do you use white or malt vinegar? Sue.

MrsL said...

I tend to use what's in the cupboard, Susan; I keep a variety of vinegars for different purposes. If I'm doing a lot of chutneys, onions, etc, I tend to buy the cheapest by the gallon; I keep read and white wine and brown vinegars too. Often, it ends up being a mixture, to make up enough quantity and to use up the odds in the bottles.

Forgot to say, don't get rid of the vinegar when you drain the onions for eting - keep it for chutney making, etc.

Willow said...

Oh they look so good! Lovely with a big chunk of Cheddar and some crusty bread ... my OH is a big pickled onion fan!

Willow x

Willow said...

Oh, BTW Mrs L, I sent you an email re the knitted bunny a few days ago, but I've been having trouble with my broadband, so don't know if it reached you?
Willow x

Kittyboo said...

mmm, they look tasty. Great tip about saving the vinegar for chutney making - I'd never thought of that before but will definitely do it from now on!

Pixiedust said...

I still haven't done my pickled onions yet. I really must get on with it. xxx

Eileen said...

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm not from the British Isles -a few days ago in the kitchen, you commented on "turning up the Rayburn" to keep warm while knitting -is it a heater, stove, combination - what type of fuel does it use? In Canada, we typically use electric or gas ranges in the kitchen, while the central heating can be electric, gas, wood, ground source heat pumps or solar.

MrsL said...

Hello Eileen, thanks for leaving a comment:)
My Rayburn is a 1970s solid feul cooker - a big cast iron range type affair, in black and white. It has a solid hot palte on top, small oven and a firebox. When we moved here, it was oil, but we converted it back to solid fuel. We have been running it on coal, but are hoping to gradually turn it over to wood mostly, a process we have started. However, to keep the fire in, we will need some coal to bank teh fire up at nights to keep it going. We need it on 24 hours as it does all teh cooking, heating and hot water, although we have an electric immersion for the water, should the Rayburn go/be off. Like this morning! It got too low last night, and went out - it's chilly in the kitchen this morning, quite noticeably so. It will give me a chance to give it a good clean, as it's usually too hot to do so; when it's scrubbed, I'll take a photo and put it up here so yu can see - much easier to see a picture of it, I think. If and when it needs replacing, it will be with a woodfired stove.

MrsL said...

Hi willow! Yes, I got the e-mail thanks. The bunny is knitted, just needs putting together now. If you e-mail me your name and address I should be able to get it off to you at the end of the week.

Michelle said...

GOSH, THESE SOUND WONDERFUL!

I bought some pink peppercorns @
http://www.sustainablesourcing.com/


What a great way to use them!

Thanks!