Every year I grow lots of onions, dry them, sell some and try to store some of them for winter. Every year I end up selling most of the nice big ones, and leaving myself with the little wee tiny ones that are a good pain in the rear to chop up. As a friend of mine says “the shoemakers children always go barefoot.”
So since I always end up with the runts, I have started trying a new way of preserving them and getting at least the peeling part out of the way, for use down the road. The following is a recipe for pickled onions. Small ones are perfect for this, though you could also use medium ones or cut some bigger ones in half or quarters. This is a great way to preserve onions for cooking with when your onion supply runs out.
Wide mouth pint canning jars with lids and rings.
Large pot for canning.
Large stainless bowl or crock for brining onions, prior to pickling.
Small onions. You can use all one type or mix them for added interest. You need about 10 or so per pint jar.
Pickling liquid (1 quart of vinegar, 1 cup of sugar, 1 TBL mustard powder [white or yellow is fine–though yellow will make the liquid more yellow] or seed, 2 TBL peppercorns, 1 TBL fresh horseradish, 3 whole cayenne peppers)
2 quarts of water and 2 TBL salt (brine)
Clean any dirt and loose skins off of your onions. They don’t have to be super clean, just no big chunks.
Place the onions in a bowl, boil a kettle of water, and pour the water over the onions. Let them stay submerged for a couple of minutes.
Drain the hot water off the onions and rinse them twice with cold water.
Peel the outer skins off the onions, and trim the bottoms and tops.
Submerge the onions again in cold salted water (brine) for 24 hours. If they want to float (especially red onions) you can place an upside down plate over them to hold them under the water.
After the brining is done, you are ready to can them.
Boil the pickling liquid in a small pot for 2 or so minutes.
In hot sterile jars, add the onions, leaving a little space at the top.
Add one bay leaf to each jar.
Strain the pickling juice and fill each jar, leaving about 1/4 inch of headspace.
Place the lids and rings on the jars and process in a boiling water canner for about 10 minutes.
To find local ingredients for your canning experiments, or to sell local ingredients to folks in your community, check out Pick-A-Pepper.co
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