I am new to pickling. Do you have to put the jars in boiling water with every recipe? Or are there pickling recipes that don’t call for it?
Hi Colleen, if you are making refrigerator pickles like this one, you do not need to water-bath the jars. Putting the jars in boiling water is usually one of the necessary steps in canning if you are pickling something that you want to be shelf stable at room temp.
Hi Elise! I’ve been using your site forever and have had great success with your recipes for many years. Thank you! Two questions… would a distilled vinegar be ok for this recipe or would you recommend something nicer like a white wine vinegar? Also, how long should we wait before eating to maximize deliciousness? I imagine we should wait a few days at least.
Hi Sarah, you can eat them after they’ve been cooling a few hours, but they’ll be better after a couple of days.
Looks great, I’ll try this tomorrow. I have a question: what is the purpose of blanching the onions? My guess is that it cuts out the bite of the onions while also making it easier for the brine to penetrate. Also, can I skip that step or is it necessary?
Hi Ian, blanching also partially cooks the onions, so they don’t have as much of that raw onion taste.
Hi Elise – can you use different onions?
Yes, you might try sweet vidalia onions. Those would be good too. Or any onion, actually. ~Elise
Does this recipe have a high enough acid content to be appropriate for hot water bath canning?
I’m guessing yes, but with canning you never want to guess. I suggest consulting a canning book or website for guidance on this one. ~Elise
Thanks Elise. I put the lids on whilst still hot as if preserving and they turned out perfect (as all your recipes do). Giving to my brother for Easter – he’s a pickled onion fan so it’s as good as chocolate to him. They smell devine. Two of three jars wouldn’t seal. I tried everything to fix them. Faulty seals I think.
What do you mean by “allow to stand until cooled”? Is this before I put the lids on or before you put them away? And when you say “will keep several weeks refrigerated”, do you mean they have to be stored in the preserving jars in the fridge, or are they ok sitting in the pantry out of the fridge like most preserves? Thanks.
These instructions are for refrigerator pickles, not canning instructions for something shelf stable. Allow to stand until cooled means just that. Let the filled jar cool down a bit before you put it in the refrigerator. I would put the lid on first. ~Elise
Hi again Elise,
I just made this recipe and stored it in the fridge. I put it in a glass jar, but it was not completely full. Is there any issues with this? What kind of jar do you use, what size?
You can use whatever glass jar you want. I think for this recipe I used two jars, a one pint jar and an 8 ounce jar. ~Elise
I just made this and it’s really delicious! I had never pickled anything and didn’t realize it was that easy and fast. Thanks for the great recipe!
The Ecuadorian version of this uses lime juice instead of vinegar and some sugar and salt. It makes for a fruitier flavor than the sharp vinegary taste that some may not like. Also it’s never seasoned.
I just made this tonight. I couldn’t find any star anis, but used anis seed (I know they’re not the same). They have the same licorice flavor though. They came out great. We had them over turkey burgers we made ourselves. We started with toasted wheat bread, a bed of fresh spinach, mushrooms (sauteed in earth balance), homemade turkey patty, melted cheese, and finally the Pickled red onions. The best burger I EVER had.
As soon as I saw this recipe I was excited. But I was soo impressed when I tasted how GREAT they were. Oh yeah, I also added mustard seed!
PilleAccording to my sources, white vinegar’s acidity level is 4.2% in the United States. I could be mistaken, but that is the number I have seen for regular, plain distilled (or white) vinegar.
It looks like this recipe can be adapted to any vegetable that I would like to pickle! Would that be a fair assessment? Of course, I would likely change out the spices a bit depending on the produce (i.e. carrots with cumin, dried chiles, garlic, etc).
I love pickled onions! They’re great with Mexican food, too. I mix them in with steamed yucca, and serve them on the side of slow-cooked achitoe pork. I also often mix in a few beet slices with the pickling mixture. It makes the color even more brilliant, and the sweetness of the beets is a nice contrast to the sharper onion flavor.
I just made something similar to this last week. I’m following the South Beach diet so I didn’t even use any sugar.
1 cup of chunked or sliced sweet onion (such as Mayan, Vidalia, Walla, Red etc.)
1 large sweet red bell pepper chopped
1 large cucumber sliced
2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate overnight. The natural sugars in the vinegar and the veggies made it very sweet. It’s a nice refreshing crunchy salad.
I’ve never pickled anything before, but I will definitely have to try this out. Excellent use for leftover veggies, right? Silly question, but does it have to be a glass jar? Could I use tupperware, or would that interfere with the flavor?
Pille, standard white vinegar in the US is 5% acidity.
This is similar to a Vietnamese version of pickled red onions which is served with hot beef noodle soup. (Pho)
You cut onions into large square chunks and soak in white vinegar for a couple of hours. I think there is a bit of white sugar added, but I can’t remember!
This condiment is served alongside the soup, dipped in a mixture of hoisin sauce and Shark brand hot sauce.
I love the pink colour, and would like to try this recipe, Elise! However, could you please tell me what’s the strength of the white vinegar in the US? We cannot buy it here in Estonia (we use a 30% vinegar that must be diluted, or then wine vinegars), and I want to be sure I mix the right strength for the brine..
Wonderful recipe!!! I made a red onion tart a while ago and I’ve just fallen in love with the mixture of red onions, vinegar (I used balsamic one), and sugar.
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