Pickling onions is deceptively easy and quick. Whether you have a bunch of onions that you want to preserve for a later date or you want to spice up a boring dish. Pickled onions are incredibly versatile. With a little acid, sugar and spices, the simple onion becomes a star.
- Water for blanching
- Ice bath
- 1 red onion (or any other kind of onion), halved and sliced
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 whole stick of cinnamon
- 1 small dried onion
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (sherry vinegar also works)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/8 - 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
Step 1. Halve and peel the onion and then cut it into thin slices
Red onions are great for this recipe; Due to their unmistakable taste and deep red color, they turn pink in the refrigerator a few days later.
You can cut the onions as thick as you want - no matter how thick, they still absorb the pickling liquid well. Some people prefer to cut the onion into rings. So they are easy to grip with the fork. Others like them smaller and therefore halve them
Step 2. Heat some water on the stove or with the kettle
Heat enough water so that the sliced onions are completely covered in water.
Step 3. Toast the spices in a small saucepan while the water begins to boil
Throw the cloves, cinnamon, chilli, and thyme into the saucepan and roast them over medium to low heat until they release their aroma, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 4. When the water just starts to boil, take it off the stove and add the onions to the water
Count to 10 and drain the onions through a sieve.
Why should you blanch the onions? Blanching removes some of the slightly sour taste of raw onions. If you like this taste, you don't need to blanch the onions. However, a more ripe onion will absorb the flavor of the pickling liquid better
Step 5. Put the onions from the colander in an ice bath to stop them cooking
You can let the onions rest a little there or remove them after 10 seconds. Onions left in the ice bath continue to ripen while the sulfur compounds (the onion's natural defense substances) dissolve in the water. When the onions are done, drain them completely and transfer them to a container.
Step 6. Add the vinegar, lime juice, and ¼ cup of sugar to the roasted spices
Set the stove to medium to high and bring the pickling liquid to a simmer until the sugar dissolves completely. Simmer the mixture for an additional minute.
Step 7. Remove the pickling liquid from the stove and pour it into the container over the onions
Seal the container and put it in the refrigerator. You can try the pickled onions an hour later. But they are best if they have been in the pickling liquid for at least a day.
You can store pickled onions in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Red onions that are pickled will turn slightly pink as they ripen
Step 8. Enjoy your pickled onions
Try them with homemade tacos, in a Cuban sandwich or in a hearty stew.
Method 1 of 1: What you should also consider
Step 1. Choose different spices for your pickling liquid
The spices given above are just a combination that goes well with each other. But there are tons more spices that are great for pickling onions. Here are just a few:
- Fresh whole garlic. Less is more here. Who doesn't like the combination of onions and garlic. Simply divine.
- Fresh ginger. With its unmistakable taste, it removes the acidity.
- Bay leaves. Dried bay leaves have a smoky, fresh complex taste.
- Fresh herbs. Experiment with rosemary, oregano, marjoram, or tarragon to name a few.
- Juniper berries. Fruity, spicy and complex in taste. These berries give gin its unmistakable taste.
- Star anise. A great replacement or addition to cloves.
- Mustard seeds. These grains add a touch of smoky flavor to the onions.
Step 2. Put beetroot along with your onions
This will give your onions a nice red color. If you only have yellow or white onions and still want a nice red hue, beetroot is just the thing. Beetroot contains a natural red color and is almost tasteless. And did I mention that it also tastes delicious?
Step 3. For a traditional English version of this recipe, pickle whole onions
The English variant of pickled onions is to use smaller yellow onions or shallots and then leave them whole. Generally, this version uses malt vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar. Give it a go for a different culinary experience.
- If you pour hot vinegar over the onions before it has cooled, the onions will become wrinkled.
If you want to prepare the pickled onions for long-term storage, pour the vinegar over the onions while it is still hot and leave 1-2 cm to the top of the glass. Seal the jar with lids and rings as usual and place the jars in a double boiler for 10 minutes. Follow the instructions regarding the height of your place of residence.
Note that the consistency of pickled onions changes after canning