I went out for lunch the other day and had a salad which must have had a dozen delicious components. But the ingredient I enjoyed the most were the pickled onions. They were a beautiful pink-purple color. And I thought, why aren’t my pickled onions quite that color?
I pickle my onions the same way every time. Apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, juniper berries and thyme. And although they are delicious, they are not always so pretty.
So I decided to experiment with some different vinegars. And I think I found the secret to success!
First of all, I always start with some not so pretty purple onions.
In the past, I’ve always used apple cider vinegar. Online, I’ve seen recipes that claim the onions will begin to turn color within a half hour. But here are my onions after one half hour. Not much action.
Then I tried a combination of apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. It’s the photo on the left. After 24 hours in the fridge, it turned a muddled red color. Then I tried rice vinegar. It’s the photo on the right. And after 24 hours, it turned a more vibrant color, almost fuchsia.
No matter what vinegar I’ve used, the pickled onions always taste incredible. But I found with the rice vinegar, the flavor was a little more tangy and I loved it so much more. And finally, a pretty pickled onion!
These are great in salads, of course. And really good on sandwiches. But I can’t resist eating them right out of the jar!
“Don’t eat anything your great great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Michael Pollan
- 1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup of rice vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of mixed peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon of juniper berries
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Peel the onion and slice it thinly on a mandolin.
- I cut the onions into half moon slices to better fit my jar.
- Heat the vinegar and sugar on medium heat in a small saucepan, stirring just until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat and add the salt.
- Place the onions in a glass storage container.
- Sprinkle the peppercorns and juniper berries throughout the onions.
- Pour the vinegar over the onions.
- Add the thyme sprigs.
- When cool, cover tightly and refrigerate.
- I find these taste best after 24 hours.
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