I like pickled onions even less then plums. But, after pickling our own a couple of weeks ago in time for Christmas, even I could be tempted to try a few. It was something that Nik wanted to have a go at, and as we’d harvested the onions from the garden a few days earlier, a vinegar bath was seemingly almost inevitable for the crop we’d dug up.
Pickling is no ordinary bath, though – it takes two days to prepare, but it is an easy process to get going.
On day one, peel the onions and chop off the tops and tails, so you’re left with a flat-edged vegetable with lots of green-white flesh. Be careful when you’re chopping the roots off that you don’t cut too much into the body of the onion itself, as it’s the base that holds it together.
Cover your freshly-skinned onions with a salt and water mix in a large pan. In another pan, fully dissolve 250g of salt into two litres of water to make a brine, and pour this over the onions, too. If this doesn’t cover them, then make up some more in the same proportions. When the vegetables are totally covered with the brine mixture, cover them with plates to keep them under the water and leave them for 24 hours to dry out a little.
On day two, remove the onions from the brine and rinse them well and dry thoroughly, in readiness for storing in jars. The glass containers must be sterilised first, so either run them through a hot dishwasher or a 100 degrees Celsius oven. Leave them to cool naturally.
When both the jars and the onions are dry, place the onions into the jars (we used large Kilner-style containers), and cover with malt vinegar. The liquid must come right up to the top of the vegetables and cover them, in order to seal them. It’s recommended that they should be left for a few weeks before eating, so the festive period should be perfect timing. Lovely?