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An easy recipe for spiced pickled onions which doesn't involve soaking the onions in brine. Makes either soft or crunchy onions.
1kg small pickling onions
200g cooking salt
600ml vinegar (cider, malt or wine)
150g honey or sugar
15g fresh root ginger, lightly bruised
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 dried chillies (optional)
2 bay leaves
Cut the top and bottom off the onions then cover with boiling water for no more than 20 seconds. Drain the onions and wash in cold water, this will help the skins peel off.
Put the peeled onions in a shallow dish, sprinkle with the salt, cover, and leave overnight.
Meanwhile pour the vinegar into a pan and add the honey or sugar, ginger and spices (not the bay leaves). Cover and bring to boiling point, then remove from the heat and leave overnight.
Rinse the onions in very cold water and pack into sterilised jars, adding the bay leaves. Strain the vinegar and pour it over, reheating it first if you want soft onions. Make sure the onions are covered by at least a centimetre of vinegar as some will evaporate over time.
Seal with a vinegar proof lid, leave for 6 - 8 weeks before using.
Use within 12 months.