‘Blood sweat & tears’ is one phrase for it. Pickling 2kg of onions is no easy task. Takes ages (and yes, they’d had the boiling water treatment to help remove the outer skins). The pickling mix is from Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2 which I have from the library. No point me sharing any real detail until I’ve tried them in 6-8 weeks time (they need to now mature). The pickling mix had in it: mace blades, allspice berries, peppercorns, ginger, honey, cinnamon stick and mustard seeds. The second batch also had dried chillies. That steeps in the vinegar overnight. To the final jars I varied what I added (to the strained mix) – coriander seeds, chilli flakes, bay leaves.
Peeling 2kg of small onions is not for the faint hearted. I have sore fingers on my left hand.
Very cheap to do – out in the sticks, where these were procured, pickling onions are something crazy like 85p a kilo. I recycled old jars I had (ensuring the lids were in good condition). Sterilized glass and lids when it came to canning though added the vinegar cold rather than heated, as I want a crisp rather than soft end result. I also used the higher strength Sarsons pickling vinegar (6% acidity) – also very cheap to buy, and that’s what the large jar at back is from.
Anyway, as mentioned, will revert to this subject in two months time to report on whether it was worth the effort! I love pickled onions – so am hoping it was.