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How to dry brine pickled onions

We love to pickle things in the UK – beetroot, herring, walnuts and, of course, the old favourite, onions. Most supermarkets stock pickled onions, but they are easy and satisfying to make at home. But it’s not just a case of dumping the onions in a jar of vinegar – before this you have to brine them, which means getting water out of them than can then be replaced by vinegar. Wet brining uses water saturated with salt. This is dry brining.

Pick your onions

Buy special sweet pickling onions or shallots from your greengrocers or supermarket. Avoid larger ones that may be too strong for pickling.

Skin the onions. You can cut the tops and bottoms off the onions and dump them in boiling water for a while to make peeling them easier.

Salt your onions using as much as is needed to give them a good coating. Don’t worry about eating too much salt – hardly any of it will remain in the final product.

Put the onions on a tray or in a bowl and cover them. Leave them for at least 24 hours – or even longer if possible. This will make your onions extra crunchy.

Rinse the brined onions with water to get rid of the salt and dry them with a towel.

Put them into to your prepared vinegar. You can flavour this vinegar with anything you like, but things like chillies, mustard seed, bay leaves and peppercorns are popular.

Things You'll Need

  • Pickling onions
  • Salt
  • A bowl
  • A cloth
  • A tap
  • Pickling vinegar and spices
  • A jar
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About the Author

Robert Macintosh is a full-time journalist based in Northern Ireland. He has accumulated eight years’ experience since 2005, writing for magazines, newspapers and websites in various countries. Macintosh has specialised in politics and entertainment. He has an honours degree in social anthropology, an NVQ level 4 in newspaper journalism and an AS Level in photography.