Listener request from the ABC Tas radio (936) talkback this morning. Recipe comes from my book “A Year on the Farm”.
The photo shows just one of the many jars we did some months ago. Each year we pickle at least 20 kilos.
Aside from the usual cheese platter etc., try them sliced on a pizza (before baking).
In times when fresh onions are in short supply, a pickled onion can be substituted in most dishes, makes them even better I’ve found.
200g cooking salt
2 litres water (3 cups boiling and 5 cups cold)
1.5 to 2kg pickling onions
7½ cups vinegar
20g allspice berries
A few cloves
1 bay leaf
¾ cup sugar
To make brining solution, combine salt and boiling water and stir until the salt is dissolved, then stir in the cold water. Allow to cool, add onions and weigh down with a plate or similar and set aside for 24 hours.
Next day make the spiced vinegar. Combine vinegar, spices and sugar in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point. Cover saucepan with a lid, then leave to infuse for at least 3 hours. Strain through a sieve. Set aside to cool completely.
Drain onions from brining solution, rinse well and pat dry with a paper towel. Pack onions into sterilised jars to within 2.5cm of top of each jar. Each jar should contain 650g onions approximately. It’s important to keep the proportions right so that there is enough vinegar in each jar to preserve the onions effectively.
Pour cooled spiced vinegar over onions, ensuring that onions are completely covered. Each jar should contain about 3 cups of the spiced vinegar.
If onions float to the surface, place a crumpled piece of baking paper in top of each jar and press into the vinegar, making sure there are no air pockets underneath. After a few days this can be removed as onions will have absorbed the vinegar and should stay submerged.
Seal immediately and store in a cool, dry and dark place for 2 months before opening.