The practice of pickling vegetables goes back at least 4000 years — ancient people in India used this method to preserve food past the harvesting season. As it's thought to be the oldest cultivated vegetable, and a near-universal ingredient in cooking, many cultures have their own varieties of pickled onions.
These sweet, sour, delicately spiced morsels pair perfectly with a wide range of meat and vegan dishes. The pickling liquid and spices can be tweaked depending on your tastes, and you can use virtually any kind of onion or shallot.
This is a quick recipe that can be eaten within half an hour of making. Lime juice is the key pickling ingredient, and it gives this treat a distinctive zest.
Put the sliced onion in a glass jar and pour the lime juice, vinegar, salt, and spices on top. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour, but preferably around two hours. Use within a few days.
For this comforting variation originating in Georgia, choose the state’s famously sweet and mellow Vidalia onions, which are usually available between April and August.
Read on for the steps!
Heat the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and spices in a pan until they reach the boiling point. Turn off the heat and mix the sliced onions into the liquid. Stir well. Spoon the mixture into clean glass jars and cover. Refrigerate once cool. They will be ready to use within a few hours, or you can store them in the fridge for up to a month.
Traditionally eaten with fish and chips or cheese and cold meats during the festive season, these pungent little onions are well worth the wait for winter.
The how-to is up next.
Up next, filling and storing!
Turn the heat off and mix the onions into the liquid. Stir well. Pour the mixture into heatproof jars, taking care to cover the onions completely with the pickling liquid while it’s still hot. Seal the jars and leave to cool before storing in a cool dark place for at least a month prior to eating. Once you have opened a jar, keep it in the refrigerator.
This variation is usually served as an accompaniment to curries and other rich dishes, where the acidity of the lemon juice provides a welcome contrast. You can substitute malt vinegar if you prefer.
Next, we'll put it all together!
To assemble the salad, place the sliced red onions in a large bowl, and pour over the lemon juice, water, salt, and spices. Stir the ingredients together well. This garnish is normally eaten on the same day, but it will keep for around 48 hours in the fridge.
This recipe is inspired by the small, sweet onions of southern Italy. Naturally, it makes use of olive oil in the preserving method.
Read on for the instructions.
Blanch the onions in boiling water briefly, then drain them and leave to cool. Remove the skins. Bring the vinegar, sugar, and spices to boil. Add the onions and simmer them for ten minutes, then drain and leave them to dry. Pack the onions into sterilized jars and cover them completely with olive oil to help preserve them. They should keep for a couple of months in a cool, dry cupboard.