Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In the Kitchen... Pickled Onions

At the beginning of summer, I was gifted a bunch of onion sets to grow in my garden.  We hadn't planned on growing any onions, but we received them gratefully and planted them all.

This is just a fraction of the onions I grew.  I gave some away and used quite a lot in cooking.

So I had all these onions and I wasn't quite sure what to do with them since I prefer milder sweet onions.  Then one evening "Pickled Onions" popped into my head for some unknown reason.  I've only had them a few times on fish tacos, but they seem like they would complement quite a few dishes.

But since all sorts of odd things pop into my head, so I wasn't disturbed by this occurrence.

Sitting on the back deck peeling onions wasn't something that I really wanted to be doing on a Sunday evening, but that's when I had the idea so I just went with it. 

I don't particularly like to cook but I do enjoy experimenting with cooking and creating new recipes.  If I could afford it I'd hire someone to do the day in and day out life-sustaining kind of cookery.

Since I had no idea what to put in pickled onions I  read through a couple dozen recipes for them. Not one of them was the same so I figured I could just wing it. YES!  That's my favorite kind of cooking.  Measuring is just too fiddly.

Also, I did not want to use any kind of sweetener so that I could eat the onions when I am doing a strict Whole30 dietary cleanse.  These are not for the faint of heart... NO sugar to soften the vinegary bite!

So here's what I used, measurements are approximate...

6 cups sliced onions
1 quart white vinegar
6 star anise
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon salt
liquid from 1 can of red beets

The beet juice is for color only.  I wanted pretty pink onions!  Use red onions and the beet juice is completely unnecessary.

First I seasoned my vinegar with all the spices.  Just mix 'em together in a quart jar and let it sit for about an hour, depending on how strong you want it to taste.  Then I strained out the spices and poured the vinegar and beet juice in a glass bowl with the par-blanched onion slices. (Par-blanch by pouring boiling water over onions in a wire mesh sieve.)

You could put the par-blanched onions directly into the jars and fill them with the pickling liquid to skip a step. I didn't think of that until later because all the recipes that I referenced were small batch and did not do a canning process.   

I did a simple 10 minute water bath canning method (no special equipment) and all 6 half-pint jars sealed. 

Love to hear that Pop! Pop! Popping as they settle!

The jar on the far left has all the red onions.  It is only slightly darker so I think I did a pretty good job of using the right amount of beet juice.
I had some extra onion slices, not enough to make another full half-pint so I just threw them in a quart jar with the beets from the can and the extra pickling liquid and put them in the refrigerator to use right away.  Let me say again... These pickled onions are very vinegary.  VERY! 

That's about it. 

I tried them right away on a plate of chicken salad.  Um, YUM!  We had them with dinner as a condiment for salmon.  Eh, so-so.  They will probably be served with burgers later in the week. Zing!

What do you think pickled onions would add a nice touch to?


  1. Hmmmm...I'd love to try them on fish tacos. :) But I can imagine them on lots of salads, or maybe on an Italian sausage sandwich?

    Per yesterday's post...overone mile!! You did it!! Getting September off to a great start, you are!

    1. Ooo, Italian sausage sandwiches! Yum!

      September is going great so far (all 2 days of it)! haha

  2. Maybe a few on an Italian steak sandwich? They sure are pretty.