Pickled onions are a great British staple. You just can’t imagine the classic ploughman’s lunch without pickled onions gracing the plate. They are the perfect addition to any cold meat or cheese platter too. If you have never thought of making your own, now is the time to get busy and just do it!
Know your onions
Obviously you would want to use those tiny pickling onions to make your own pickled onions but those can sometimes be hard to come by. If this is the case for you then just use shallots, you know those mini onions, they are just as good and have a super flavour.
A brine is simply salt water and you are going to leave the onions in this for 24 hours.
After the brining stage you will be making up the actual pickling liquid which is made up of vinegar with some sugar and spices added for flavour.
This is heated up then left to cool and infuse overnight to get all those magical flavours mixing together.
Now it’s time to drain those onions and pat them dry before packing into a sterilised jar and pouring over the prepared pickling liquid (complete with the spices) and popping on the lid.
Give it time
This recipe for pickled onions requires them to ‘rest’ for four weeks before you use them so that they are packed with flavour.
Remember folks, patience is a virtue!
You can make these pickled onions now and then set them aside to add to your Christmas foodie hampers. Adding pickles to a hamper makes a nice change from the usual sweet jams and jellies, never forget the savoury side, think of chutneys and relishes, oh and don’t forget about making some boozy gifts too, they go down a treat!
Check out my Christmas recipe section for all types of foodie gift ideas.
Nothing like getting a head start on that Christmas prezzie panic!
- 500 g/1lb 2oz pickling onions or small shallots
- 1/4 cup salt
- 300 ml/1/2 pint malt vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 dried chilli
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp allspice berries
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- Peel the onions by topping and tailing them with a sharp knife and submerging in boiling water for 5 minutes, the skins will come off easier with less tears
- Put them in a bowl with the salt and enough water to cover. Weight them down with a small plate so they are completely submerged and set aside in this 'brine' for 24 hours
- Heat the vinegar and all other ingredients to a simmer for 10 minutes
- Remove from heat and leave over night to infuse
- Drain and dry the onions and pack into a sterilised jar.
- Pour over the vinegar and spices
- Pop on a lid and leave in a cupboard for 4 weeks to mature before using