Pickled Onions for Cocktails


Though you wouldn’t know it from my timing, I was very excited about this month’s CanJam featured cannable good: alliums. Reason A: I’m not the world’s greatest pickler, but I found the all those carrot pickles to be downright inspiring. Reason B: Although I haven’t yet gotten into the make-your-own-liquor craze, I do like me a good cocktail. Hence, pickled onions.

This is a very basic recipeā€”so basic, in fact, that the water bath is optional. Since I’m an oldest child and play by the rules, I have dutifully stuck this one in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes….but you don’t really have to. Unsealed, it will keep in a refrigerator for about 6 months; if you seal it without a water bath, it should still be shelf-stable. This is a hybrid that’s derived and minimized from Joy of Pickling and The Ball Blue Book.

Pickled Cocktail Onions

1 small bag white pearl onions (should yield 2 cups, peeled)
3/8 c. kosher salt
water
1 c. cider vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 T. black mustard seeds
5 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 dried hot red pepper, split

1) The night before, peel the onions. I did this the hard way:


…but apparently you can dip them in boiling water and cut off the root end and pop them right out. Who knew. Then point the onions in a container and sprinkle with the salt. Cover with water and let sit overnight:

2) Heat up your boiling water bath and your lids and sterilize your jar(s). For the record, I only needed 1 pint jar for this many onions.

3) Combine the sugar and the vinegar and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, arrange the drained onions and the flavorings (herbs, pepper, and spices) in your jar. When the solution’s hot and the sugar is dissolved, pour it over the onions. Remove the air bubbles with a chopstick or other convenient kitchen tool and screw on the lids.

4) Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (or not).

Let these sit for about a month before you start eating (drinking) them.

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7 comments to Pickled Onions for Cocktails

  • I almost made those myself. Thanks for the minimized version–the quantities in the ball book were a bit overwhelming (and I was not comforted by the fact that I like the sweet cocktails more than the bloody marys of the world). Oh, and sorry you learned the hard way but glad to know there’s an easier way to peel all those tiny little onions!

  • They sound good. I love pickle onions!

  • pam

    These look good. I have an onion jam recipe in mind for my onion canning. Luckily I was too late to actually participate in can jam, so the fact that I will be late, doesn’t matter at all!

  • Ooo. Pickled pearls! Love these. Why didn’t you make a lot so you could have a giveaway that I could enter and consequently get my hopes up for only to lose? Guess I’ll just make them myself…

  • Taras

    Hi, I’ve been wanting to do these for some time but in a larger quantity. Where I live (Whidbey Is., Wa.) a 10oz bag of Mellisa’s pearl onions cost about $3.00 which works out to $4.80 a pound. If like me your looking for a larger amount of pearl onions st a more reasonable price, I found, after a few hrs searching the net, this company (http://www.fromthefarm.com/vegetables/onions/pearl-onions). A 9lb box of one inch pearls is $16.00+ shipping and tax if your state taxs internet sales. You can choose from white, yellow, or red pearls. Onions,Etc are out of California. My cost for onions+ship+tax was $32.00 or $3.50 a lb. Sorry if this sounded like a commercial and hope this helps. Taras

  • Julie

    I’m doing pickled pearls in the next few days. This may constitute cheating to the purists, but I’m using the frozen already-peeled pearl onions that they sell at Trader Joes. So much easier…

  • george

    i cheat and use a bag of frozen pearl onions…they are a bit smaller so i have 2. I think i will go fix a gibson right now.

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