Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a courtyard garden. Which edibles will tolerate less than ideal growing conditions. Discovering how veggies can grow in partial shade.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pickled Onions

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.


At 8:01 PM, Blogger Nutty Gnome said...

You've inspired me to pickle some onions! I've not done that in years - maybe it was not knowing I should salt them that made them less than tasty last time?!

At 10:02 PM, Blogger The Mom said...

I'm going to have to go find some pickling onions! Those look delicious.

At 11:59 PM, Blogger Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Thanks for sharing... We may use the same technique to pickle other fruits and veggies. ~bangchik

At 11:59 PM, Blogger Mary Delle said...

Your onions look like they will yummy.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Green thumb said...

Onions and the recipe is excellent, but it is the idea of the vest that I found best! Quite innovative.
I am pretty excited about the Dogblog. Will be mailing soon.

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

Never pickled onions - so your post was most informative.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Dan said...

They look delicious. I always like to eat the pickled onions that come in the sweet pickle jars. By the way my pink berkley tie dye plant managed to produce a couple fruit even with the blight. I will be saving seed so I can share some more with you next season. Hopefully they will germinate for you this time.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

Hi matron, dumb question! Are pickling onions the same as ordinary onions or a specific variety for pickling?
I must get my stuff together for your dogblog, a great idea for the unsung heroes!

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Peggy, I bought a packet of seed last year which said they were pickling onions, but I have never grown them. I assume they are a different variety that mature smaller, but I'm not entirely sure.

At 1:16 AM, Blogger Catalina said...

Yum! Yummy!
That looks delish!
How do you seal your jars?

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Catalina - if the vinegar is still boiling hot when I pour it into the jars, you just seal the tops immediately and as it cools the tiny space at the top forms a vacuum seal.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Wild Mood Swings said...

All my onions were preserved in COLD vinegar to keep them crunchier , I find when heated all the onions become soft , and they are ready after just 4 weeks.

Awesome , initial feedback from discerning honest tasters is, they are off the scale , so i'm very happy.

Thanks Hugh F- W . for your guidance on the cold option.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Briana said...

I am really excited to see the results of your doggy dna test. We did one a while back that tested over 100 Breeds. It was the Canine Heritageā„¢ XL. It was so fun

At 4:57 AM, Blogger kathy said...

What fun to do a dog DNA test. Often people are very surprised by these. Buddy is very cute for sure. I'll check back to see what it says.


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