So you know how we fancy ourselves as a cross between Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Alsopp? And we pride ourselves on our love for jam making, chutney making and alcohol making? Well, to continue the theme of making things in jars -we decided to make Pickled Onions.
Despite the fact that you can get very lovely pickled onions very cheaply, we still thought it would be a pretty good idea to try making them ourselves. And - this is the time of year to do it. Pretty much every supermarket has displays of tiny onions and vinegar - just calling out to fools like myself who have never done it before.
So we thought, why not? We bought a net of onions, and a big jerry can of spiced pickling vinegar, and we set about creating magic. Now - it's not so simple as putting them in jars and filling them with vinegar, there's some back breaking work involved too, and 24 hours of salt. Yes, you heard right.
So, with being a busy bee, I decided to start the task on a Saturday, so I could finish on a Sunday. If you are going to attempt this - this is a really good idea.
I started about 3pm on the Saturday, which would have been plenty of time, if I had bought a normal amount of onions - but I didn't. I bought this many.
In case you can't tell - it's quite a lot. About 5kg, to be precise.
Yup. That's a lot of onions. The bag didn't look that big in the shop, I swear.
So. On to the first step. You need eyes of steel at this bit - you need to top and tail all the onions with a sharp knife. I cried a lot during the first couple of batches, but after I was 1/3rd of the way through this mammoth bag, I stopped crying. And, I haven't cried at an onion since, so I think I'm now immune to onion tears.
Once you've top and tailed them (as close as you can, so you retain as much onion as possible) you'll need to soak them in boiling water, until the water is cool enough for you to handle the onions. As I had to do mine in batches, I just soaked them until I had another good sized batch.
Once they've been soaked, the tough skins will come off much easier. Your fingers WILL hurt though, so you have been warned - especially if YOU BOUGHT LOTS OF ONIONS.
Now comes the weird part - you need to soak the onions overnight. Some people say to soak them in brine, others just say to cover them in salt.
Since I got to this stage at TEN O'CLOCK AT NIGHT, I just threw the 5kg of onions in a huge bucket, and threw a load of salt on them. I'm not sure how much. It looked like every onion had a coating of salt, but I can't be sure as at that stage I was seeing double anyway.
The next day, my dry-as-a-bone onions were floating in their own juices - the point of the salt must be to suck stuff out of the onions. If you think about it- pickled onions are usually softer, so it makes some kind of sense.
Now, you just need to rinse them, dry them, and jar them. Like so.
Looking good! Make sure you pack them in well, you don't want a couple of onions floating in some vinegar, that is not how this game works. Undo the lid on your excessively large jerry can of vinegar, and top each jar up.
This is a pretty good jar of pickled onions. They look just how they should look. I'm sure of that. All you have to do now, is wait. Store the jars in a cool, dark place for at least a month before eating. Do them now, and they'll be perfect to give as homemade Christmas gifts.
One last word of warning - you're reading this just over a week after I attemped this, and my house still smells of onions. It's in the curtains, the sofas, the carpets. It's even in my pleather handbag. No amount of Febreze seems to do the trick. If I was doing this again, I'd start it earlier in the day, and I'd do it outside, in the fresh air.
So if you do give it a go, let me know how you get on - maybe don't buy so many onions. I have 24 jars of pickled onions now, so I hope my friends really like them... xox