I love pickled foods. Fermented, briny, tart — I think I like pickled vegetables more than fresh in many cases. Between garden produce and the Farmers’ Market, I had a lot that I wanted to pickle this week. Here are the end results:
All except the small jar on the far right (containing in-process spicy kimchi made from globe turnips that I grew) are at least plausibly pre 1600. The greens are another attempt at plausible historical kimchi: turnip greens, salt, fish sauce, and lots of garlic. I’m pretty excited about that one. The rest of the jars are variations on pickled onions — whole small “spring” onions and sliced sweet onions two ways. Here are some recipes if you want to make your own.
Whole Pickled Onions
- 3 bunches small onions (roughly a dozen per bunch, walnut sized or smaller)
- 2, 12 oz bottles malt vinegar
- 1/2 oz salt (this is about a quarter of the amount the recipe I was working from called for, so feel free to adjust this further yourself)
- Spices (feel free to experiment!) — one nutmeg broken up, 2 bay leaves, 5 cloves, 1 – 2 tsp pepper corns
- Remove roots and tops of onions and peel.
- Bring remaining ingredients just to a boil, then let cool.
- Put all ingredients into a large glass jar or crock.
- Keep in a cool, dark place (refrigerator) for at least 10 days. I shake them periodically to make sure all the onions are under the brine.
These are supposedly the best accompaniment to pork pies.
Pickled Onion Rings
- 2 large sweet onions (where I live, Walla Wallas)
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 6 T sugar or 1/4 c honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Spices: 2 bay leaves, 6 cardamom pods, 3-4 cloves, 1 long pepper pod, 1 blade mace (I didn’t have any this time), some peppercorns, some juniper berries, whatever else looks good to you (I like a “Viking” variant with caraway and juniper)
- Peel the onions and slice into rings 1/4″ thick or smaller.
- Bring brine ingredients to a boil.
- Add onions to brine and simmer about 30 seconds.
- Pack into a quart mason jar or a stoneware crock.
- Store somewhere cool and dark (the refrigerator again) and eat whenever.
I don’t know how long these keep because they have never lasted longer than a weekend. I like them with smoked chicken.
For one of the jars of sliced onions, I used honey, fresh sage, lovage seeds, and juniper berries for the seasoning. I call those the “farmhouse” variant because they don’t use imported spices.