The Epicurious Wanderers!

Pickled Onions

After my picture yesterday of our home made pickled onions a few people have asked for the recipe.  It’s not a home created recipe but one I found online a few years ago, so in the spirit of sharing I’m happy to repost it for my fellow pickle lovers.



You will need:

1/2 cup sea salt
2 1/4 L water
1 1/2 kgs baby onion unpeeled
4 tbs brown sugar
4 cup malt vinegar
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp mixed peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole allspice
4 bay leaf crumbled
12 cloves whole cloves
3 chilli chopped deseeded ( I add more as I like them hot)

Then just follow the steps below:

In a mixing bowl, dissolve ¼ cup sea salt in 1.15 L water. Add the onions and weigh them down gently with a plate that fits inside the bowl. They must be kept submerged.

Stand for 8 to 12 hours.

Drain and peel onions, and return them to the bowl.  The soaking makes the peeling much easier, I missed this bit the first time around and spent ages peeling the onions!

Make a new brine with another batch of salt and water, pour it over the onions, and weigh them down gently again. Stand for 2 days.

Drain and rinse the onions twice.

In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil. The initial recipe says to cool this mix before adding, I pour it in straight from the cooktop.

Mix all picking spices together and ½ fill preserving jars with onions.

Divide ½ the spices on top of onions.

Fill jars to top with remaining onions and place remaining spices on top.

Fill each jar of onions with the cooled (or still boiling), sweetened vinegar, ensuring that onions are completely covered..

Cover the jar with a non-reactive cap, preferably all plastic or glass.

This next step is a pro tip that is often forgotten. You need to heat-treat your jars so that they properly seal themselves – this will extend shelf life from about a month to around a year (with everything that you preserve, just give it a good smell and taste before you eat it. You never know if something has gone wrong in your processes!). So, grab the largest, tallest pot you have (a pasta pot is great for this) and line the bottom with a tea towel and place your jars on top. You need to ensure that they are not cluttered and they aren’t touching the side of the pot. Cover the jars completely or to at least two-thirds with water that is a similar temperature (otherwise the glass will be shocked and break). 

Gently boil for anywhere between 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of your jar. The tops should puff up a bit and become concave. Take them out of the hot water – custom made jar grabbers make this a lot easier – but if you’re just starting out you can make do with tong, a tea towl, anything to keep from burning your hands!  Give them a wipe and then leave them on the counter (out of direct sunlight) overnight. In the morning, the seal should have sucked itself in.  Don’t worry – if one of your jars doesn’t seal just pop it in the fridge and eat this one up first!

Refrigerate the jars for at least 1 month before eating the onions.