Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Time to get pickling!

Another thing I like to make for Christmas presents (and for myself) is pickled onions. I'm getting them done now because it's at least 2-3 weeks before you can eat them after they are in the jar, although I like to leave them for 4-6 weeks, just to be sure. I get a bit nervous at the thought of eating pickled onions that aren't quite fully pickled. Don't ask me why.

I think the secret ingredient in pickled onions is honey. It gives a lot more depth in flavour to the pickled onions. Oh, and the long, bright red chili. It makes the jar look really pretty and also gives the pickled onions a bit of kick. I've been making pickled onions annually for about 5 years now, and my recipe has adapted over time, but this is the one that I've used for the past 2 years and was the best yet.

Day 1: Brine the onions
  • 1.75 kg pickling onions, peeled, topped & tailed (roughly enough for 5 x 500 ml pasta sauce jars)
  • 150 g salt
  • 1.5 L water
Dissolve the salt in the water: it may need to be heated gently for the salt to fully dissolve. Add onions. Leave in the brine overnight (or two nights, if you run out of time on the first night, like me).

Day 1 or Day 2: Make the spiced vinegar

Make the spiced vinegar. I prefer to make this the same night I cut up my onions, to allow the spices to really infuse through... and also because I am lazy and like to just make it and pop it in the fridge and forget about it. You can make it the following day, just remember to allow the vinegar and spices to infuse for at least 2-3 hours. Use whatever vinegar you like: I use a combination, generally because I don't have enough of just one type lying about the house. I do like to add at least a cup of apple cider vinegar give it a slightly sweeter flavour and because it gives the vinegar a nice golden colour, which contrasts beautifully with the red chili and white onions. For a few years I used the honey from my friend who was a backyard apiarist, but unfortunately he moved interstate, so now I just use whatever rich flavoured honey I have on hand (leatherwood or similar).

  • 1 litre white vinegar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 15 g all spice
  • 15 g coriander seed
  • 10 g black peppercorns
  • 10 g mustard seeds
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup honey (or to taste)

Heat all ingredients to boiling, cover, simmer for 15 mins. Allow to cool and infuse for 2-3 hours at least, or overnight.

Day 2. Packing and pickling

You'll have to wait until tomorrow for the next installment. I'm actually putting the onions and vinegar into the jars later tonight because I realised I wont have enough time to finish them tomorrow, and leaving it til Thursday to jar them up is a bit much (I love pickling because it is flexible, but I think I'd be pushing there boundaries there!). When I'm done I'll be too tired to post, but it builds the excitement anyway... in case there are any of you out there who also get excited by pickled onions!

1 comment:

Hoppo Bumpo said...

Well, I for one, do get excited about pickled onions. I love the homemade variety, so I think I will have to try out your recipe once I've assembled enough jars. And just to prove to you how much I love them ... (and tell me this isn't just coincidence) I once sat down and consumed a such a large quantity (on their own!) ... that the next morning I was rushed to hospital with acute appendicitis!