Pickled Onions

Processing: Boiling Water Canner 10-20 minutes
Storage: 12 months +
Yield: 12 cups
Serve pickled onions chilled from the refrigerator as a snack, or as part of a cold meat, antipasto and cheese platter.
6 cups water
1 cup sea salt
1.8kg (4lb) pickling onions
Boiling water
7 cups apple cider vinegar (minimum 5% acidity)
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups raw sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons black peppercorns (optional)
4 tablespoons yellow mustard seed (optional)
6 teaspoons celery seed (optional)
6 bay leaves, fresh or dried (optional)
4 fresh red chillies (optional)
Day 1: Prepare onions.
Heat water and salt together until dissolved, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, place onions into a large heatproof bowl, cover with fresh boiling water and stand for 5 minutes. Discard onion water. Peel onions, leaving a small part of the root intact (this holds the onion together). Place onions back into heatproof bowl. Pour salt water over onions. Weigh onions down with a water-filled bag or a plate and jars of water to soak overnight.

Day 2: Prepare jars by covering in water and boiling for 10 minutes in a large pot. 
Combine vinegar, water and sugar in a pot. Simmer until dissolved, and then bring to a boil.
Prepare lids. 
Place the lids into a bowl of boiled water. Let the lids warm for a few minutes while you fill the jars, removing the lids from the water when you are ready to place them onto the jars to seal.

Fill jars.
Rinse and drain onions, pat dry. Into each hot pint (500ml) jar, add 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed and 1 teaspoon celery seed. Pack drained onions into jars to 1 inch (2.5cm) from the rim, adding bay leaves and chilli slices (halved lengthwise, seeds discarded) down the sides of each jar. Add boiling pickling solution to jars to ½ inch (1cm) headspace. Remove bubbles with a non-metallic utensil, topping jars up with extra pickling solution to correct headspace, if required.

Boiling water processing.
Process jars in a pot of boiling water bath for the time stated in the chart below. Start the timer once the water returns to a full boil. When the time is up, turn heat off and rest jars in water for 5 minutes before placing onto a towel-covered bench overnight to cool.

Processing times for     PICKLED ONIONS     in a boiling water canner.
Jar Size
≤ 1,000 ft.
1,001 - 6,000 ft.
> 6,000 ft.
Hot Pack
≤ Quart (1000ml or smaller)
 10 minutes
 15 minutes
 20 minutes
 12-24 hours later: check jar seals.
Check jars have sealed before wiping down jars, labelling and storing in a cool, dry and dark place for up to 12 months. Pickled onions are best enjoyed after 3-6 weeks to allow the vinegar flavour to subside.

Share on: