Saturday 24 November 2012

The Picklin' Pixie at work - again!

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!
Grandma's Pickled Onions

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.

Recipe notes:
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.



  1. I will swap you a jar of these for a jar of my Rose Hip Jelly! Love pickled onions but have not found any made in "male" vinegar so just have to try yours!!
    Wish I had known you were going to see J&J yesterday I would have found an excuse for a day off!

  2. You have been busy. I'm not so keen on the pickled onions but I did make a batch of your piccalilli yesterday. It looks ans smells gorgeous.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe. Yours are always good.
    Kate x

  3. This sounds good too...I have bookmarked the other recipe and will add this one to it as I don't think i could manage them this year...
    well, not that I'm admitting to.

    I might get a bit of a hard time from D as i just got bak from Black Friday in the States. My daughter got us a great deal on a lovely suite right across the street from the Mall we start with and really close to a Joanns and a Michaels. We only managed to spend 3 hours in the room but it did a great job of housing the presents in between forays out into the bargain hunting masses.
    She worked all day Thursday and then she drove us down to Lynnwood (sort of on the way to Seattle.
    We shopped till 2am, slept 3 hours, got up and raced to JoAnn's.
    I am in papercrafting heaven!
    Off to bed soon as I think i need some kip!

  4. Ha, ha - amended malE vinegar to read malT vinegar. Well spotted Sam :)) Di xx

  5. Oh those onions sound fab, better not tell hubbie or another two legged mouse will be on his way over lol. I always feel the same after a shopping session with friends, I had one on wednesday and felt really miserable afterwards, hubbie thought i hadnt enjoyed myself but it was cos i didnt want the fun to end lol. Hugs, Amanda x

  6. Hi Di

    Sorry .. . had to delete my comment .. .. once again I couldn't spell!! No wonder I never win at Scrabble.

    Your jar of onions look scrummy and I can just imagine them on the Christmas buffet table .. .. but you haven't finished off your post by telling us how to get the smell off your fingers!!!

    Any magic tips for that? LOL!!!

    Pleased you had a good time with Julia and Jan .. .. hope you didn't spend too much of the Christmas Fund money.

    Have a good weekend.

    Love Jules xx

  7. *cough cough* I rather think that you were the Shopping Fairy twinkle-toeing around KraftKrazy!! Lol. It was a fab day, Di, truly lovely to meet up again :D
    LLJan xx

  8. OK, OK - I confess :)) Di xx

  9. Oh they where the days when l used to do all of this and what lovely memories your jar has brought back thanks Di for sharing this recipe must give it ago have a lovely weekend x

  10. Your pickles look very tasty Di and very professional. I have to admit to using a spice mix from the super but will remember your recipe the next time l'm brave enough to take on the pickling challenge. They say you forget the pain of childbirth, may be pickling is the same lol

    Glad you enjoyed your afternoon with the two J's, hope you managed to avoid any of the rotten floods.

    Have a great weekend xx

  11. I keep intending to pickle but every time I start saving jars my lovely hubby efficiently puts them into the recycling..... Bless! (said through gritted teef)

    love Mags B x


  12. Well you certainly know your onions, how posh are your jars!

    Oh dear I am still eating onions I pickled last year with 1 more jar still to go, they are still fine and crispy so I would say they last longer than 6 months.

    But I have to say that I cheated last year,and this year and used Heinz pickling vinegar, so no faffing about with spices etc and it seems to work, and the jars can be used for the onions too.
    Have a great weekend Di.

    Kath x

  13. Not for me I'm afraid . . . but I'll send the other half round . . . he LOVES em!

  14. Oh good grief!! I love these even more than 'Pickled Lily'. They look gorgeous, my mother sat on the front of a double decker bus when she was having me with a jar of these and ate one after the other. Probably the cause of my addiction!!!!!

    Eeeh I'm tasting them again now, French bread, stinky cheese, Pickled Lily and Pickled O nine ones!

    Big hugs Sue Pxxx (dribbling as usual)

  15. Oh this post took me back to my Nanna's kitchen. She used to pickle onions every year for the whole family.
    The house stunk of vinegar that made our eyes water for days!
    Thanks for sharing ...I may well revisit this but making sure I wear my shades!


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