My Recipe For Pickled Onions

This was after one night of pickling when I pickled a couple of bags of pickling onions and some red cabbage

A rather different post from the usual. The last couple of months I’ve started pickling again, mostly onions but also red cabbage. So I thought I would share the recipe and the technique I use. These are for the English-style pickled onions, so they’re quite spicy.

The day before I start pickling I prep the onions by removing the skins and soaking them in brine overnight. To make the brine I tend to use 1-2 teaspoons of salt per cup of water and dissolve it by boiling for a few minutes which then gets added to the onions in a bowl and covered with a tea-towel.

The next day I wash the jars and their lids and rinse them well and then put them in the oven at 110-120 degrees Celsius for half an hour or at least till they’re dry. Due to the size of the onions I get at the local supermarket I tend to use larger jars. While the jars are getting sterilised I make the pickling mixture:

Pickling Mixture (suitable for a kilogram of pickling onions)

2.2 litres of vinegar (I use malt vinegar, purely due to liking the taste of it)

25 grams of ginger (I buy root ginger which is then grated)

2 tablespoons of salt

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon of whole cloves

1 tablespoon of pickling spice

2 tablespoons of black peppercorns

1 cup of sugar (I use raw sugar)

1 teaspoon minced chili or chili flakes (optional – one of my additions)

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes and then let cool. My advice is to keep the place well ventilated while it boils as it can sting your eyes.

Once the jars and the pickling mixture are ready, bring the jars out one by one and fill them with onions and add the pickling mixture till all the onions are covered and leave at least a centimetre from the top (Sorry I’m not American so all my measurements are in metrics). Then put the lid on and seal as well as you can. Once all the jars are filled put them in a cupboard or some shelves and leave them for at least a month. In my experience the longer you leave them the better. Any pickling mixture left over store in some sterilised jars.

I am experiencing some problem with jars occasionally cracking while adding the pickling mixture, so it might be better to leave the jars out of the oven for a few minutes before you start filling them. This is something I’m currently experimenting with.

As variants you can pickle shallots with this, and also red cabbage. If I pickle the cabbage I chop it finely the night before and mix in a lot of salt with it in a bowl and then leave it covered overnight. Then the next day I wash the red cabbage in a colander and drain it, and then wrap it up in several tea-towels until it dries. After that add it to jars. I really pack it densely into the jars so it doesn’t need that much pickling mixture.

Feel free to ask any questions or add any comments.




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