Pickling uses an acidic vinegar brine to preserve vegetables. The mild spicy flavour of shallots responds well to pickling. The outer layers of the shallots become tender while the inner part of each clove is crisp and crunchy. The naturally small size of the shallots makes them a suitable choice for pickling. Use the pickled shallots as a snack or hors d'oeuvre, or add them to salads or cooked dishes for added crunch and flavour.
Peel the paper skin from the shallot. Separate the cloves. Trim off the stem end of each clove and peel the outer skin from each.
Combine the vinegar, salt, pickling spice and bay leaves in a pot. Bring the pickling mixture to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
Place the prepared shallots in the pint jars. Leave 1/2 inch head space above the onions in each jar.
Insert a bay leaf into each jar. Push the leaf between the shallots so it doesn't float to the surface of the brine.
Pour the pickling mixture over the shallots, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Slide a spatula around the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles caught between the shallot cloves.
Wipe the rim of the jar to remove any pickling mixture. Seal the jars closed with the lids and lid rings.
Store the pickled shallots in the refrigerator. Alternatively, process them in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes for long-term storage.
Experiment with different herbs and spices. Mustard seed, dill, horseradish and hot peppers all complement the flavour of the pickling mixture.