Once you've tasted these crisp, salty, and sweet cocktail onions it will be hard to go back to the store bought ones. To create more color in the jars, I used a combination of white, yellow, and purple pearl onions. For the perfect edible gift, add a fun label and directions for a delicious Gibson, a classic gin or vodka martini served with cocktail onions rather than olives, to the jar. Ready to pickle your pearl onions? Keep reading.
3 pounds of pearl onions (each one measuring no larger than 1 inch, preferably much smaller)
1 cup pickling salt
7 cups distilled vinegar
2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons pickling salt (this is in addition to the 1 cup of salt)
- Scald the onions in boiling water about 2 minutes, then quickly dip into cold water; peel the onions.
- Layer the onions in a large bowl, alternately with the 1 cup of pickling salt. Refrigerate the onions for 24 hours, stirring several times once the juices from the onions begin to form. Note: this step is called "short brining," and helps ensure a crisp pickle because it actually draws out moisture from within the vegetable and firms up the flesh in the process.
- Drain the onions, then rinse well and drain again.
- Combine the vinegar, water, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt in a nonaluminum saucepan; simmer 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash 3 pint canning jars and 1 half-pint jar. Prepare 2-piece canning lids as manufacturer directs. Pack the onions into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Pour the hot vinegar solution over the onions to within 1/2- inch of the top, making sure it covers the onions. Wipe each jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lids.
- At this point, onions may be stored in the refrigerator for months and months without suffering in quality.
- For long-term storage at room temperature (like in your pantry), process the closed jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool overnight on the counter. Check the seal to make sure a vacuum formed by pressing down in the center of each lid. It should not bounce back.
Makes about 3 pints.
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