- 1.25kg (about ¾oz) small brown onions
- 2-4tbsp sea salt
- 3 cloves
- 1tsp all-spice berries
- 1tsp black peppercorns
- 1long red chilli, halved
- 3 bay leaves
- 385g (12½oz) white wine vinegar
- Trim the tops and bottoms of the onions, leaving a little of the root still attached so they remain whole and do not fall apart. Also leave the skins on the onions. Transfer them to a large ceramic bowl and cover them in boiling water.
- Drain after 30 seconds, then cover with cold water. Peel the skins off the onions while under the cold water and place them in a clean bowl, sprinkling them with the salt.
- Leave the onions in the salt overnight, then rinse and dry thoroughly with a tea towel. Divide them between three 500ml (16fl oz) sterilized jars, then divide the spices, chilli and bay leaves between the jars, too.
- Bring the sugar and vinegar to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 1 minute. Pour over the onions and seal the jars.
- When cool, label and date the jars. Wait at least 2 weeks before eating - but they will keep well for 6 months.
Always use a stainless steel pan to make pickles; stainless steel doesn't react with the vinegar like aluminum or copper does.
A good quality white wine vinegar is necessary for this recipe, as it will have an acidity of six per cent, which is what is needed for pickling.
This recipe works equally well with unprocessed, granulated or caster sugar.
The best way to sterilize jars is to put then in the dishwasher, or wash with hot soapy water and then rinse in boiling water.