I’m kind of addicted to tiny vegetables–baby carrots, mini eggplants, and of course, tiny onions. Not to mention that I love savory cocktails, so cocktail onions are kind of a necessity around here. Unfortunately, some of the commercial ones have either a really flat and bland flavor profile or a ton of preservatives that you don’t really need. So, I made my own. It’s slightly herbal, but the brine itself is still simple enough that it doesn’t have a ton of strong flavors that would compete with the onions.
Some notes: If you grow your own rosemary and bay leaves, they’ll make this recipe even better. Otherwise, if you don’t have access to the fresh stuff a dried bay leaf and a couple pinches of dried rosemary will work too. Also, you’ll make more brine than you need when you prepare this recipe. I prefer having too much brine to not enough so I don’t have to stop the whole preparation process to make another batch. This recipe yields one pint, but you can multiply it very easily.
Rosemary Cocktail Onions
10 oz white pearl onions
2 cups water
2 cups vinegar
2 tbsp salt
1 bay leaf
2 small sprigs rosemary
-Prepare your canning jars (I used two half pint jars) by placing in boiling water to sterilize (if you haven’t canned before, this is a pretty good tutorial)
-Combine all ingredients besides onions and rosemary in a pan and simmer for ten minutes.
-Meanwhile, drop the onions (peels and all) into boiling water and boil for three minutes.
-Remove the onions to a bowl of ice water.
-Cut off the root end of the onion, and gently squeeze the top to push the onion out of its skin.
-Remove sterilized jars from water and add a rosemary sprig to the bottom of each.
-Divide the onions between the jars, and ladle hot brine over them to cover, leaving 1/2 inch of space in the jar.
-Top with lids and rings, place in hot water bath and process for 15 minutes.
When I was a kid, my mom used to make this delicious cucumber salad with dill, sugar, and vinegar. It’s always been a favorite of mine, and I decided to play around with it one homesick evening recently. I didn’t feel like going to the store, so I used what I had on hand: a big bag of onions from our local market. The onions I usually have around are sweeter: yellow onions, shallots, Vidalia onions, and candy onions. Any of those would work great with this recipe, although if you prefer more of an onion-y bite you could play around with other onion varieties. You could also substitute other herbs in here (fennel would be delicious). These onions are deceptively easy and packed with flavor: they taste wonderful on pitas and burgers! This recipe makes two pints, but can easily be increased.
1 yellow onion
1 1/2 c white vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dill weed (you can substitute fresh here, just add a bit more)
2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
-Peel and thinly slice the onion.
-Place the slices in two pint jars.
-Add the remaining ingredients to a large glass or jar, and stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
-Pour the mixture over the onions until they are completely covered (you can top it off with extra vinegar if you don’t have quite enough).
-Screw the lids onto the jars tightly and place in the fridge.
-Wait 24 hours and enjoy!
This recipe is on Punk Domestics!
Scuppernongs and Muscadines are native to the Southeastern US, meaning that around here you can buy them at the farmer’s market on any given weekend. I’ve heard people say that you can forage for them, but haven’t seen any growing wild myself. Since I’m new to the area and don’t know where to go pick them (yet!) I bought this batch from the farmer’s market. Scuppernongs are slightly sweet and tart, while muscadines have a very rich, deep sweeter grape flavor. Both are big and juicy and burst in your mouth when you bite into them, and their delicious flavor lingers after you’ve finished eating. I couldn’t resist them when I saw them at my first Florida farmer’s market, although I quickly learned that they have big seeds and bitter skins, which can make them challenging to eat by the handful. Inspired by a recipe I found on Auburn Meadow Farm’s site, I decided to get to work pickling my grapes!
This trip to the market, they had muscadines (the red grapes, as opposed to scuppernongs, which are green) so this recipe worked perfectly. Thanks to my busy schedule this week, I didn’t have time to go to the store to pick up mustard seeds and white wine vinegar (which are in the original recipe) but that gave me the chance to experiment with other ingredients I did have. It definitely changed the flavor from the original recipe, but I think it turned out very well–the grapes have a perfect pickle-y bite and the warm spices help deepen their flavor. Next time I have all the ingredients I plan on making this as per the original recipe to compare–these grapes are so tasty it’s definitely worth making time and again!
1 pound muscadine grapes
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick (2 1/2 inches)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sea salt
-Rinse and dry grapes, halve them, and remove the seeds. Place grapes in a bowl.
-Place coriander, peppercorns, and cinnamon in a saucepan and toast them until they are fragrant.
-Add vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, and salt and bring to a boil.
-Immediately pour the mixture over the grapes, and set aside to cool.
-Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (you can also pour the grapes and brine into jars before popping them in the fridge).
You can also find this recipe on Punk Domestics!