17 August 2012

Home canning: Onion pickle

I found a few huge, beautiful, sweet white onions at the farmers market in July, along with some sharp red "torpedo" onions. I took 6 white onions and 2 red onions and essentially used the Ball Blue Book recipe for vinegared red onions, but modified along the lines of what Food in Jars came up with a little while ago. I left out sugar for a sour-only pickle, dropping cloves, peppercorns, mustard seed, and celery seed into the jars before packing in the heated, sliced onions, and I ended up with these beauties:
All, and I mean all, the sample recipes I found called for sugar,
which I left out. Hope that wasn't a mistake
They've been ageing for a few weeks now. When they first hopped out of the canner, the red torpedoes had stained the jars bright, bright pink. Now they've mellowed to a crazy brown-mustard parchment color, and you can't tell the torpedoes from the sweet whites.

The Rowhouse Livin' household doesn't consume a lot of pickles, so I hardly ever make them, whether onions, or cucumbers, or any other type of pickle. I used to make bread-and-butter pickles, but after a few intervals of realizing it was taking me two years for us to finish a mere five pints of pickles, I decided to leave them out of my canning repertoire for a while. So I'm realistic and imagine it will take me a while to get through these onions. I see them as a topping for salads, or a winter sandwich condiment, or a relish to accompany the pizzas I make for my Sunday semi-potluck dinners. I'm really looking forward to popping the lids and seeing how they turned out.


If you are not familiar with home canning, please see the National Center for Home Food Preservation. This recipe does not substitute for a complete set of instructions on safe home canning practices. Jar size: pints. Slice the onions in half lengthwise, then into narrow slices crosswise. Add to a large saucepot, cover with vinegar, add 1 generous tablespoon non-iodized salt, and bring to a boil. Gently simmer onions for 10 minutes.

Into each pint jar, add a few whole cloves, a few peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon whole mustard seed, and 1/4 teaspoon celery seed. Fill heated jars with hot onions and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process pints 10 minutes (sea level) in a boiling-water bath canner. For this batch, 8 onions yielded 6 pints.

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