What do smallholders do when given a bag of baby onions? We pickle them of course!

Pickling onions has to be among the quickest, easiest ways of preserving a vegetable. A few jars of pickled onions in your cupboard will come in handy in many instances. Eat them as they are as cocktail snacks either on their own or with skewered a cube of strong cheese, or make kebab meat go further by adding pickled onions to the skewer and alternated with the cubed meat, mushrooms and dried fruit.

Easy peeling method

Many find the effort of peeling away the outer skins of small onions too much of a bother. Here is a clever idea which achieves a skinless onion in a fraction of the time.

Simply put the onions in a saucepan, cover them in water and bring to the boil.

pickled onions
Brought to the boil, these pickling onions are ready for draining.

Then remove the pot from the stove and drain.

The theory is that you simply squeeze out the onion, leaving the peel behind.

pickled onions
Once cool enough simply squeeze the onion from its skin.

However if you boil them for a little too long, the first good layer of the onion will come off as well, so you will finish up with less onion than you should have.

Pack the onions in jars

The peeled onions are packed into sterilised jars and a couple of whole dried chillies are pushed down the sides of the bottles with a knife. Don’t add too many or the finished product will become too hot to enjoy.

pickled onions
Adding whole chillies to the onions in the jar.

Pickling solution

The preservative is white spirit vinegar, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a couple of tablespoons of pickling spices. Bring to a boil and pour over the onions to cover them.

pickled onions
pouring in the pickling mixture.

The sterilised lids are added and tightened on the jars before the bottles are put up on a shelf to steep for two (or more) weeks before opening.

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