I came by a large sack of pickling onions a few weeks ago whilst travelling in Bedfordshire. I kept them in a string bag to circulate air around them. Actually, this is one of my Father's string vests with the bottom sewn up!
It is SO much easier to peel onions if you pour a kettle of boiling water over them for about 5 minutes to soften the skins. They can be peeled much more easily.
The peeled onions must be salted for at least 24 hours. This removes a little of the natural onion juice which enables the vinegar to penetrate and preserve more effectively.
Rinse and dry the onions and pack them into sterilized glass jars. It is then that I measure the amount of malt vinegar needed by pouring the cold vinegar into the jars. I replace about one fifth or 20% of the vinegar with water. I find it makes the final product less acid. I also add a couple of ounces of sugar. You cannot taste it in the final product but it brings out the flavour of the onions.
Boil up the vinegar with some pickling spice and a knob of fresh ginger, bay leaves, dried chilli. Just bring it to the boil for a few minutes to bring out the taste of the spices and to dissolve the sugar.
Strain the hot vinegar to remove the spices and pour over the onions in the jar. I usually put a teaspoon of the used spices into the top of the jar. Agitate the jars to remove air bubbles and seal immediately.
Ready for Christmas!
PS. I've just purchased a doggy DNA test kit
! At last you can find out what mixture is in your mutt! Buddy is thrilled! The results will be in the post in a couple of weeks. Just in time for the posting of Matron's Dogblog
. Please email me a picture of your canine garden helper by 28th September