As part of my pickling frenzy I made jars of pickled onions too - once again, they are hidden from the 'Two-legged Mouse' until Christmas!
1⁄2 cup sea salt
2.25 L water
11⁄2 kg unpeeled very small onions or shallots
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cups malt or apple cider vinegar (I used malt vinegar)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mixed or green peppercorns
1⁄2 teaspoon whole allspice (couldn't find this so I just mixed a pinch of ground allspice in with the spices)
4 bay leaves, crumbled
12 whole cloves
3 small chopped and deseeded chillies
In a mixing bowl, dissolve 1⁄4 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.
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 - ha, ha - the onions, not you of course :).
In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil. Cool.
Drain and rinse the onions twice.
Mix all picking spices together and 1⁄2 fill preserving jars with onions.
Divide 1⁄2 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, sweetened vinegar, ensuring that onions are completely covered.
Cover the jar with a non-reactive cap, preferably all plastic or glass.
Keep the jars in a cool place for at least 1 month before eating the onions.
They will apparently keep for at least 6 months, if you can resist them for that long!
I think you could also use pre-mixed pickling spices, Schwartz do them, but I opted for the hard way :) I tasted the vinegar and don't think these onions will be over sweet - which was my concern. Obviously you can just multiply up the quantities - I think I tripled it and got 4 x 2lb jars and 3 x 1lb jars if that helps you to work out final numbers of jars you're likely to end up with.
If you make these soon they will still be ready in time to have with all that cold turkey, ham and other such Christmas Fare. I enjoy that more than the full roast dinner on Christmas Day to be honest - probably as it's much more relaxed.
Oooer, I had a fabulous day with Julia and Jan yesterday - those girls know how to shop so of course I had to join in otherwise it would have been very rude of me :) I felt quite flat when I got back home, sigh.