My mother used to make delicious, crispy pickled onions. They are much better, in my entirely neutral opinion, than those you can buy. The recipe is very simple.

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You need a sealable jar, such as pickling jar. You can use a jar designed for that purpose, but many products come in perfectly reusable sealed jars.

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

  • shallots
  • pickling or malt vinegar (such as Sarson’s)
  • lots of salt
  • pickling spices

You may have noticed this recipe for pickled onions doesn’t actually contain any onions. This is because, oddly enough, really good pickled onions are actually pickled shallots. Shallots give far better results.

If you can’t get unspiced pickling vinegar, use malt vinegar.

I don’t like the packets of pickling spices you can buy in the UK; they have little to no effect. Instead, I add my own selection of dried spice. I find the zing of chilli works well, and will add that, along with some complementary spices. But, ultimately, it’s a matter of taste.

This is what you do:

  • Peel the shallots, cover them in salt, and leave overnight.
  • Brush the salt off, not wash it off. Brush it off completely, of course, which will take a little time. By brushing, not washing, you get crispier results.
  • Put your pickling spices into the jar, add the shallots, and pour in the vinegar.
  • Seal and wait.

The pickled onions will be ready in six to eight weeks.