21 November 2011

Pickled Onions

This is the second year I've made these using the River Cottage recipe in Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2. They are delicious and everyone who I gave a jar to last year ate them up pretty quickly so I recommend making double quantities if you are making as presents for people.


Pickled Onions

Makes about 1 x 900g jar

1 kg small pickling onions
50g fine salt
600ml vinegar (cider, malt or wine)
150g honey or sugar
15g fresh root ginger, lightly bruised
2 tsp allspice berries
2-3 mace blades
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black or white peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 dried chilli's (optional)
2 bay leaves

Now I use shallots because I can never find any pickling onions. I also use cider vinegar, sugar not honey, white peppercorns and leave out the chilli's but you can do whatever you want. You don't need a big pan for the vinegar but you do need a shallow dish for the onions to rest in over night and a big mixing bowl to put the onions in when you are preparing them for peeling.Sterilise enough jars before you rinse the onions so they are ready for you when you need them.

1. If you are using pickling onions you can use scissors to snip the rooty tops and bottoms off. If you are using shallots you will probably need a knife. Place them in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and count steadily to 20 (no more). Drain the onions and plunge into cold water - you will now find them really easy to peel.

2. Put the peeled onions in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with the salt, cover and leave overnight.

Salted onions in shallow dishes
3. Meanwhile pour the vinegar into a pan and add the honey or sugar, ginger and spices but not the bay leaves.

4. Cover and bring to boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse overnight.

5. The next morning strain the vinegar into a measuring jug.

6. Rinse the onions in very cold water, then drain and pack into sterilised jars, adding the bay leaves as you go. Pour over the vinegar (reheating first if you want softer onions) and seal with a vinegar proof lid.


Finished onions - need to leave for six to eight weeks
7. Mature for 6-8 weeks before using. Use within 12 months.

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