pickled onions
small firm pickling onions
whole black pepper
quality white wine vinegar
dried pickling spices
dried chilli


The onions must be small and very firm to the touch. The first skin must be removed, and the outer layer of the prepared pickled onion must be unbroken – not cut in any way. If you accidentally nick it, remove another layer. Put the onions into a non–corrosive container, add half a cup of salt for every 2kg onions and cover with cold water. Weight the onions under the water, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Drain the onions and dry them with a clean cloth and pack into sterilised jars, then cover with cold Vine Valley Spiced white wine vinegar, optionally adding a little dried chilli.

Alternatively you can use plain Vine Valley white wine vinegar, or any other quality white wine vinegar and add whole black pepper, bay leaves and whole pimento to the individual jars or infuse the vinegar with your own spice selection, but make sure it is completely cold before pouring over the onions.

The pickled onions can be eaten after four days but are best left for three weeks.

tip There are always plenty of small onions around, but they are not always suitable for pickling and by mid June, finding pickling onions of a suitable quality becomes almost impossible.

copyright © text, images and recipes Ann Oliver Galaxy Guides Pty Ltd 2009