English Pickled Onions are a true British treasure! We often eat them straight out of the jar, sliced in sandwiches or accompanying a tasty Ploughman’s lunch.
English recipe week continues… and this pickled onion recipe is the 2nd of another component to the Ploughman’s lunch recipe. The Ploughman’s lunch is a great British pub lunch dish consisting of cheeses, ham, bread, pickled onions, pickle relish and various raw vegetables of choice.
How do you make English Pickled Onions?
English Pickled Onions are so incredibly easy to make and are a great snack to have on hand as they can also be used with so many other dishes. The hardest (well, most tedious) part to this recipe is peeling the pearl onions, but I do have a “Ginger Tip” for that in the recipe.
How long do you leave pickled onions before eating them?
The onions must pickle for a few weeks so you must be patient (I know, it’s hard!). I’ve been asked a few times about using the traditional canning method of adding them to a water bath to seal. This I find this can make the onions lose their crunch and the crunch is the one of the best things about these onions.
Sealing the jars
I find that just adding the hot vinegar into the jars is enough to seal and I do recommend storing them in a cool place or refrigerate. Once you have opened them after the pickling, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months more. The results are a delicious, vinegary,slightly sweet onion with the perfect amount of crunch. They are ever so delectable as a burger topping with melted cheese or chopped up and added to salads. Enjoy!
To sterilize the jars:
- Place empty jars in a large pot.
- Completely cover the jars with water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once the water reaches a full rolling boil, begin timing. Boil the jars for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. If you are not quite ready to fill the sterilized jars and proceed with canning your recipe, you can leave them in the hot water for up to an hour. If you wait longer than an hour, you’ll need to sterilize them again.
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The recipe fills 2-12 ounce (340 gram) jars.
English Pickled Onions
English pickled onions are a true British treasure! We often eat them straight out of the jar, sliced in sandwiches or accompanying a tasty Ploughman's lunch.
- 2 pounds pearl onions peeled * see note
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 cups malt vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons pickling spice *** see note
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 12- ounce mason jars with lids
Put the onions in a bowl and sprinkle the salt, mix to coat well. No water should be added. Leave overnight. ** see note
Rinse the onions well and dry. Add the onions to sterilized jars.
- To a saucepan add the vinegar, sugar, pickling spices and bay leaves.
Heat over medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved. You can tell it is dissolved if you don't not feel the crystals as you stir. Heat only long enough to dissolve the sugar about 8-10 minutes, DO NOT BOIL. Then remove from the heat. Do not breathe in fumes.
- Pour the vinegar over the onions (until they are completely submerged) and put on the lids and seal tight.
- Store in a cool dry place for 3 to 4 weeks before eating. If the weather is warm, store in refrigerator.
- Refrigerate after opening.
* To easily peel the onions, put them in a heat-proof bowl. Pour over boiling water and leave until cooled. They should peel easily by rubbing the skins in the water.
** Do not leave the onions longer than overnight or they won't be crisp
*** Premixed pickling spice can be found in the spice section of the grocery store.