Pickled onions are an amazing side dish or condiment. They’re amazing on sandwiches – giving a little blast of vinegar, or with a charcuterie plate and some sharp cheeses. They work well on pizza, on a bagel with cream cheese and lox, tacos, stir fry, scrambled eggs, the possibilities are endless. And when pickled, they’re less sharp and, well, onion-y because they’ve been cooked a little through the pickling liquid.
This recipe uses red wine vinegar and red wine, and the taste is just awesome. They have a very rich, vinegary crunch to them, and are a great accompaniment to lots of meals. They also keep for years in a cupboard and a SO CHEAP to make. Great hostess/housewarming gift too!
Place 8 x 250ml (8 oz) wide mouth mason jars in water, with lids and bring to a boil. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting the short, wide jars, because it’s so much easier to get the onions in the jar. So much, you don’t even know.
Chop the onions. My method is I cut them in half, and then very thinly slice them, and leave them in halves, so I can place an entire half into the jar as is. This, in my experience, gets the most onions into the jar by far, but you can also take them apart and toss them, then pack them back into the jar later, but the jar will be scalding hot, so…. do not recommend.
Mix all the ingredients (minus onions) into a large saucepot and bring to a boil. Continue stirring frequently to ensure all the sugar and salt has completely dissolved. Once dissolved, turn down heat enough so liquid is at a good simmer.
One jar at a time, and moving quickly, remove a jar from the water bath (a canning kit has tongs that are super helpful here), and place the onions inside. I have no better way to describe my method other than I grab a sliced half onion, and, flat side down, I cram it very tightly into the jar. Make sure the onions don’t come to within 1/4″/1 cm of the rim of the jar. Gently ladle the vinegar liquid over the onions until the liquid comes up to 1/4″/1 cm of the rim. Remove the lid from the water and seal the jar tightly. Repeat until you run out of jars, onions, or pickling liquid.
Because the liquid and the jars are SUPER hot, they should seal themselves by the lids inverting with a very satisfying “pop” by the time they’re completely cool. If they don’t do this, either fridge them and use them right away, or boil them again for 10 minutes, and leave to cool completely. If they still don’t seal, there may be contamination in the seal of the lid, or the contents are too high in the jar. Check, fix, boil again, Bob’s your uncle.