A favorite in British Pubs, Old English Style Pickled Onions are delicious and make a great addition to any meat & cheese tray!
Growing up in Canada with a British Mum, Old English Style Pickled Onions were part of every holiday in our house. The flavorful layers quickly became a personal favorite that followed me into adulthood. I took for granted that I would always be able to buy them.
When I moved to the US, finding them on the store shelves became a little more difficult so I researched recipes to create my own. I made small adjustments until they tasted like the ones from my childhood and could be made just a few small jars at a time. The result is a delicious small batch of pub style pickled onions that are well worth the effort to make them!
Why Make your own Pickles?
Canning and preserving are things that most of us know as something that our grandparents did. It was a valuable life skill back in the day and it is getting popular again as a lot of us are taking time to rediscover our roots. The best part is that it is not that hard to do!
There are many ways to preserve things and make them shelf stable but I think that the easiest one to learn is water bath canning. A small batch, one quart jar recipe is a great place to start when you are just starting out. Nothing too intimidating, and great results with very little work!
In order to do any sort of water bath canning you need a few things:
- 3 pint sized Mason Jars
- Jar Rings
- Canning Lids
- Water Bath Canner
There is a GREAT article all about water bath canning at the Fresh Preserving site if you want direction from experts. They have all sorts of fantastic information!
How to Make Old English Style Pickled Onions
History shows that Old English Style Pickled Onions have been around since the mid 1700’s. If you have ever enjoyed them as part of a charcuterie board, a pickle tray or a meat and cheese tray, you already know that they are something special.
Sweet, vinegary and salty, they are a little unusual but totally delicious – a great small batch canning project!
Begin by cutting off the ends of the boiling onions and peeling off the dry outer skin.
Divide the cleaned onions evenly between three clean, pint sized Mason jars.
Combine 2 1/2 cups of water with 1/3 cup of canning salt. It must specifically be pickling/canning salt. No substitutions. Stir until the canning salt is completely dissolved.
Pour enough brine into each jar to cover the onions.
Cover the onions with a canning lid and seal with a canning ring. The onions need to sit in the brine for 24 hours prior to making them.
This step is very important as this process softens and flavors the onions without cooking them and keeps them crisp in the jar.
Leave for 24 hours then drain the brine from onions, leaving the onions in the jar. Rinse well.
Fill a water bath canning pot with enough water to cover the jars by about an inch. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil.
In the meantime, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cider vinegar, pickling spices and sugar.
Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for two minutes then remove from the heat. This will infuse the flavors of the pickling spices into the vinegar.
Pour the vinegar mixture evenly over onions, dividing between the three jars.
Leave 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and seal the jars to just fingertip tight so that the air bubbles can escape during the canning process.
Process for 10 minutes in the water bath canner then remove and allow to cool.
For the best results, let the pickled onions sit for two weeks before eating them and serve chilled or room temperature. Refrigerate after opening. Enjoy!
Other Pickling Ideas You May Like
Hot Italian Giardiniera – a delicious way to preserve veggies and a great little snack too!
Pineapple Cowboy Candy – sweet, savory and spicy, as a snack, a condiment, or an appetizer, these are delicious and addicting!
Pickled Asparagus – Easy and delicious, Pickled asparagus makes a great addition to a cheese plate, a Bloody Mary, or even just a pickle on the side!
Pickled Jalapeno Nacho Rings – one of our family’s favorite recipes – especially delicious on nachos, chili and pizza!
Refrigerator Pickles – quick and easy alternative to throwing away cucumbers that nobody’s going to eat!
Easy Italian Pickled Mushrooms – Infused with vinegar and then tossed with garlic, spices and a drizzle of oil. Yum!
Old English Style Pickled Onions
- 2 pounds small boiling onions
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/3 cup canning salt
- 3 cups cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp pickling spice
- 3 tbsp sugar
- Peel boiling onions and divide evenly between 3 clean pint sized Mason jars.
- Combine water and canning salt. Stir until the salt is fully dissolved. Pour enough brine into each jar to cover the onions.
- Cover the onions with a canning lid and seal with a canning ring. The onions need to sit in the brine for 24 hours prior to making them.
- After 24 hours, drain onions and rinse well, leaving the onions in the jar.
- Fill a water bath canning pot with enough water to cover the jars by about an inch. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cider vinegar, pickling spices and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and allow to boil for two minutes. Remove from heat.
- Pour the vinegar mixture evenly over onions, dividing between the three jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and seal the jars (fingertip tight).
- Process 10 minutes in water bath canner then remove and allow to cool. Allow two weeks before eating for full flavor development.