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I didn’t make pickled onions for a while now and I really wanted to make some more.
Luckily, I grew Barletta onions, specific onions you can use for pickling onions. In a small spot in one of my bins I now use, I sowed a lot of onions. If you want to know how to sow perfect onions every time, read this article.
I did make some mistakes along the way. I started the onions rather late and I wanted quite a bit of onion for making pickled onions at home. Storing them was my initial plan although it didn’t really work out that way. But more on that later.
So, I sowed a lot of onions in a small spot and I didn’t thin out the seedlings to a decent distance. I must say, the results were really good compared to the way I treated the plants and the care I gave them.
A few onions were rotting in place and couldn’t be used anymore but the biggest part of onions was really healthy.
One disadvantage of sowing this close together is the size of the onions. A lot of onions were rather small and didn’t bulb up. But no worries, we can eat them raw or use them in our meals.
Luckily, I could salvage about 600 grams, about a pound, of onions to start making pickled onions at home.
Step one harvesting onions
It’s not difficult to harvest onions. Especially in the bin I grew I could easily pull the onions out of the soil. I made a small heap with onions to take inside.
I just pulled out the onions and removed as much soil as I possibly could. My wife would kill me if I’d bring in all the soil in the world. I didn’t remove the roots and the greens all at once because this would deteriorate the quality of the onions before I brought them in the house.
Step two cutting the onion greens and the roots off
Okay, I brought in the onions and it was time to start cleaning the onions. I took out my knife and a container to put in the debris and started cleaning.
Cleaning the onions for making pickled onions at home is rather easy. I tried to cut off the greens from the bulbs as close to the bulb as I could. I also removed the roots by cutting barely above the root zone so I had a nice bulb to start making pickled onions. Most of the greens went to the chickens or the compost pile.
I also had a bunch of onions that weren’t suited for making pickled onions so I cut off small stems instead of the “bulb”. Well, there was no bulb, but you know what I mean. Those onions are now used as shallots.
step three, I call this curing the onions
I must be honest, I call this step curing the onions because I don’t know the real name for it. So if anyone can help me out with the name, please contact me.
The shallots went into the fridge and we are still munching on those now.
The bulbs were going into a salt bath. I really wonder why people do that. I just do it because I know my granddad did it as well and he was a cook. So, I don’t really know the reason why.
Anyhow, I put the bulbs in a container and made sure the onions stayed underneath the water level. For every 6 grams of onions, I added 1 gram of salt. The calculation showed me I needed 100 grams of salt for my 600 grams of onions.
I put a plate on top of the onions to make sure they stayed submerged and I left the container standing for 24 hours. Again, I did this because that’s the way I learned to do it.
Step four removing the salt from the onions
After 24 hours, I took the bowl with onions and I washed off all the salt water. I cleaned them thoroughly but gently. The onions were already quite a bit softer by then.
Step 5 preparing the vinegar
I used pure apple cider vinegar. No water, wine or sugar was added because I like my onions really sour. I also feel safer when I don’t add any water to the mixture.
So, I mixed in a couple of leaves of the bay laurel tree. I also added pepper and cloves. As always, I was in a hurry and I forgot to add dill to the vinegar. I also didn’t use garlic because I didn’t have any garlic in the kitchen anymore. NO GARLIC? Well, it’s the time of the year that garlic starts to sprout and at that moment the gardener in me takes over if you know what I mean.
Preparing the jars for storage
Ok, I took the number of jars I needed to fill with onions. I put the empty jars in my pressure cooker and cooked the jars, the lids, the rubbers and the metal clips for about 15 minutes. I had to make sure everything was sterile.
Once the jars were sterilized, I pulled them out of the cooker to let them air dry.
Fill the jars with onions and vinegar
Once I mixed the herbs in the vinegar, I boiled the vinegar for about 5 minutes to make sure the herbs would give taste to the vinegar and I poured the vinegar over the onions in my glass pots.
I checked to make sure the onions were submerged because onions tend to float on top due to air pockets between the different skins. Once everything was as I wanted, I put on the rubbers, I put on the lids and I clipped the lids to the jars.
Waiting game in making pickled onions at home
After everything was done, I had to wait to see if the jars would stay closed once I removed the clips. Sadly enough, and this happens quite often to me, only 1 of the 4 jars was closed. The other 3 jars could be opened without force so they didn’t seal at all.
I don’t want to can the jars with onions, because this makes the onions quite soft so I will have to eat the onions in the first 3 weeks. But that doesn’t really bother me. Problem is when I have more jars, which I have had before, I then need to give jars to family and friends because I cannot eat them all in 3 weeks.
I will eventually have to find a way to solve this problem. Last year, I did can them because I had far too many to give away but as I already said, then my onions are so soft and I don’t really like that. Maybe, some of you readers can give me some comments on how to do it right? That would be a real help.
So this is it for this article on making pickled onions at home, I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share on social media, with friends, and other gardeners.
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