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 recipe—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
1 c. cider vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 T. black mustard seeds
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.