Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pickled onions

We are going back to basics in our house, trying to reduce the household budget. We're baking bread and making yogurt, cooking 'two dinners for one' meals, taking our lunch, eschewing cafes and bought coffees, making our own Saturday special breakfasts, having dinner parties at each others houses rather than going to restaurants. We are 'making do and mending' and its damned enjoyable.

We made pickled onions today, they're actually not my favorite pickle, but they are the wife's, and as she came home with pickling onions on Saturday, what could a home cook do but pickle them?

We looked at a few recipes, chose the method and recipe from Food Preserving at Home p.56 by John Gross, then adapted the recipe to our memories of our mother's pickled onions and what we had available on hand.

Pickled onions a la Azure Hills
Made three 500 ml jars (1) of pickled onions

1 kg pickling onions
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
500 mls white vinegar
500 mls apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup  Panch phoran (a Bengali spice seed mix)
15 peppercorns
6 cardamon pods
6 cloves garlic
6 bay leaves
3 nutmeg cloves

Peel your onions, easy way to do this is put them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water, leave for 2 minutes and then transfer to a bowl of cold water. Leave the ends of the onions on as it keeps them from coming apart.

Place the peeled onions in a bowl, cover with the cup of salt, cover with cold water, leave for a minimum of 12 - 18 hours in a cool place, fridge is good. Drain onions, then rinse and drain again.

While your draining the onions, put your vinegar, sugar and Panch phoran into a saucepan, bring to a simmer, simmer for 15 minutes.

Pack your onions into hot, clean 500 ml jars (heat jars in the oven), leaving 13 ml headspace. Add 5 peppercorns, 1 garlic clove, 2 bay leaves, 2 cardamon pods, and 1 nutmeg clove to each jar. Heat pickling liquid to a boil. Pour boiling liquid over onions in bottles, make sure the Panch phoran is distributed between the jars, leaving 13 ml headspace for expansion. Remove the air bubbles from the bottles.

Remove air bubbles, wipe rims and seal jars. We had left over pickling vinegar and we will use it as a lovely flavoured vinegar for salad dressings etc., an extra bonus.

Use a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, to process the filled and sealed jars, for the safest of preserves.

Leave the pickles for a minimum of 24 hours before opening, the longer you leave them, the more the flavours will mature.

Boiling water bath
Fill a big pot, deep enough for your bottles to fit in and be covered by water 25cm deep above the lids.

Fill the pot with water, bring to the boil, when just under boiling, place jars into pot, make sure they are covered by 25cm water above the lids, then bring to the boil. Keep boiling for 10 minutes, then remove jars from hot water, place on a tea towel and let cool. The lids will 'pop' and fully seal the pickles as the bottles start to cool down. Don't leave pickles in the water bath as it will cook them and remove their crunch.

(1) Don't buy new jars, recycle old ones and buy new lids, go to Green Living Australia for more information.


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    Have a great day

  2. great recipe, thanks for the link to green living

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