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    Spiced Pickled Onions and Cucumber

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    Spiced Pickled Onions and Cucumber

    Autumn is traditionally the time to preserve food so that it can be enjoyed throughout winter. Pickling onions are around for only a short season, so preserve them with this simple recipe. Store the jars in a cool, dry place and they will be ready for Christmas.

    • Preparation time: 35 minutes, plus overnight soaking
    • Total time: 12 minutes 15 minutes

    Makes: 2 x 1 litre jars

    Ingredients

    • 750g pickling onions
    • 2 medium cucumbers
    • 100g coarse sea salt
    • 4 small whole red chillies
    • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • Approximately 750ml Sarson's Vinegar for Pickling

    Method

    1. To peel the pickling onions, place them in a large, heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, then drain. The skins should then peel off easily. Trim the top and bottom of each onion.
    2. Cut the cucumbers into 1cm thick slices. Layer the cucumbers and onions in a bowl with the salt, cover with a tea towel and leave for 24 hours.
    3. Rinse and drain the vegetables in cold water, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Layer in prepared glass jars (see cook's tips, below), tucking the chillies in between and sprinkling with mint as you go.
    4. Pour the vinegar over the vegetables ensuring they are completely submerged. Seal and label with the date made, and store for at least 2 weeks before eating.

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    Cook's tips

    the best jars to use are those with clip-on lids, specially made for preserving, but check they have a rubber seal to ensure the metal does not come into contact with the vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar reacts with metal and will spoil the pickle. For this reason, jam jars are not really suitable unless the lids are reusable and the undersides of the lids have a plastic coating.

    To prepare the jars, wash them in a dishwasher, or preheat the oven to 160°C, gas mark 3. Ensure that the jars are clean and free from cracks and chips. Wash in hot, soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Place on their sides in the oven for 10 minutes. Fill the jars while they are still warm and seal with the lids immediately.

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