Traditional Pickled Onions are normally served with salads, taken on picnics, eaten with plates of cold meats, and bread and cheese – and authentically in a Ploughman’s Lunch. This recipe makes quite a powerful pickled onion, made with malt vinegar, they have a real bite and a crispness about them. This is an excellent recipe.
Pickled Onions Recipe
Makes about 4 medium sized jars. Made with malt vinegar they should be stored for at least 6 weeks before eating.
- 1 Kg pickling onions (small)
- 750ml malt vinegar
- 115g sea-salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp allspice berries
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 5cm piece fresh root ginger (sliced)
- 2 blades mace
- 2 fresh bay leaves
To peel the onions of their skin, trim off the root ends, and cut a thin slice off the top end. Place the onions in a bowl, then cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then drain. The skin should then be easy to peel using a small, sharp knife.
Place the peeled onions in a large bowl and cover with cold water, then drain all the water into a large pan. Add the sea-salt and heat slightly to dissolve it, then cool before pouring the brine over the onions.
Place a smaller plate inside the top of the bowl and weigh it down slightly (with a tin of soup or similar) so that it keeps all the onions submerged in the brine. Leave this to stand for 24 hours.
Pour the malt vinegar in a large pan. Wrap all the remaining spice ingredients, (except the bay leaves) in a small square piece of muslin cloth, tie it to make a cloth bag. Put the spice bag and bay leaves into the vinegar and bring it slowly up to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Set aside and leave to infuse overnight.
The next day, drain the onions, rinse and pat dry. Dry them as much as possible.
Pack the dried onions into sterilized 450g preserving jars. Open the muslin spice bag and add some of the spices, (except the ginger slices) to the jars. Pour the vinegar over to cover the onions and add the bay leaves – store leftover vinegar in a bottle for another batch of pickles.
Seal the jars (with non-metallic lids) and store in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks before eating.