How beautiful are these? A sweet and salty vinegar brine, peppercorns and bay leaves are really all you need to turn sliced red onions into crave-worthy pickles. I’ve never been a fan of raw onions… I know, I’m sorry, it’s just one of those things… but these tender sweet-and-tart pickles are totally my speed. They’re a lovely and tasty topping for salads. I also love them on sandwiches, on burgers and sliders, in pitas and tacos, or cooked in omelets and other egg dishes. Really, you can add them to pretty much any savory dish for a pickled burst of flavor. They are super easy to make. If you process them using the boiling water canning method (instructions linked below) they’ll last in your pantry for years. As time passes the onions take on a pretty purplish-pink hue in the jar. These pickles would make a fun and unique homemade gift for the gourmand in your circle of friends. Or you can keep them all to yourself, if you’re feeling indulgent. It’s all good!
Want to learn more about pickling, home canning and other adventurous old-timey methods of food preservation? Check out these links:
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- 2 cups water
- 1 cup vinegar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 ½ tbsp kosher salt
- 2 lbs. red onions
- 1 ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1 ½ tsp. peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
You will also need
- 3 pint-sized 3 piece mason jars, wide mouth funnel, canning pot, round rack that will fit into the bottom of your canning pot, jar lifter, small saucepan, magnetic lid lift (optional), tongs, a few clean kitchen towels
- Gluten Free Note: If you're making these pickles gluten free, make sure your vinegar is certified gluten free. If you can't find a GF white vinegar feel free to sub apple cider vinegar.
- Before getting started, sterilize all cans and lids using the boiling water bath method. Remove jars and place on a clean towel. Leave the lids in simmering water until just before you are ready to use them.
- To make brine: Combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepot and simmer over low heat, stirring often, until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Set aside until ready to use.
- Trim the onions and slice into thin strips.
- Toss onions with 1 ¾ tsp kosher salt and allow to sit for about 30 minutes, then rinse.
- Evenly distribute the peppercorns and bay leaves between the pint jars.
- Add about 1/2 lb of sliced onions to each jar. Gently press down with tongs to make sure everything is loosely packed.
- Cover with brine, leaving about ½ inch of headspace. If making refrigerator pickles (not processing/canning), make sure your brine is hot when you pour it over the onions. Let the jars return to room temperature, put the lids on, and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The longer they sit the more they’ll pickle.
- To process and can the pickles, clean the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Place the lids on the jars and seal with the bands using just your fingertips so that they are not too tight.
- Process for 10 minutes using the boiling water bath method - click here to learn how. As soon as the timer goes off, quickly and carefully remove the jars using the jar lifter. Place them on the clean towels and allow to cool for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours you can remove the bands and test your seals by lifting the jar, by the lid, a few inches from the counter top. Jars with good seals can be kept in a cool dark place for up to a year. If the seal is broken, store in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.