Friday, December 28, 2012

Pickled Cipollini Onions

Onions, to be peeled
Canned and sealed

Having made mustard and lime jelly during the past two weeks, it was time for more pickles, as I was running low. In addition to carrots, we decided to pickle cipollini onions again. I have friends who like the onions in cocktails or with a ploughman's lunch, but I seem to use most of mine on burgers. However you choose to use them, they improve greatly after a few weeks of storage time.

Pickled Cipollini Onions
Based on a recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation 

We ended up making two batches, some packed in standard wide-mouth pint jars and others layered, as above, in taller, thinner jars.

8 cups peeled cipollini onions (approximately 3 pounds purchased onions)
5½ cups white distilled vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons canning salt
2 cups sugar
4 scant teaspoons mustard seed
2 scant teaspoons celery seed
Thyme (optional)

Yield: 3 pint and one 1/2 pint jars

Peel onions. I find that cipollini onions hold their shape well when peeled (see the photo above.)
Combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a stockpot. Bring to a boil and continue to boil gently for 3 minutes. Add the peeled onions and bring the pot back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the onions are half-cooked (about 5 minutes).  
Meanwhile, place 1 scant teaspoon mustard seed and 1/2 scant teaspoon celery seed in the bottom of each clean, hot pint jar. I always add an optional thyme sprig, both because it looks nice and because I like the taste. If you are not a thyme fan you can omit it and/or experiment with a different flavor.
Ladle the hot onions into your jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Cover the onions with the hot pickling liquid, (a funnel helps with this) leaving ½-inch head space. Finger seal your jars and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. 
If you have any brine leftover, as we did, I recommend using it for other pickles. We used our leftover brine for pickled carrots. For our usual pickled carrot recipe, see here. You could also use it for a refrigerator pickle of your choice, keeping in mind that the brine will have an onion flavor.

Carrots were part two of our project.

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