I never thought I was a pickle person. I always had the vision of those sweet bread and butter pickles in my head and they just aren’t my thing. I’ve come to learn that I love pickles, they add such a nice sweet, tart punch to a simple salad or sandwich. I’m just very particular about the type of pickle I like, not too sweet with a nice bite of vinegar. I’ve gotten in the habit of keeping a jar of refrigerator pickles in the fridge so I can snack on them or toss them into my favorite dishes. They can keep indefinitely in the fridge and you can use the brine to pickle some of your other favorite vegetables like carrots, or green beans. Check back on Thursday for a recipe highlighting these little lovelies!
Quick pickled pearl onions
8 ounces (about 16) red pearl onions, trimmed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water cook the pearl onions for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer the onions to a small bowl.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil with the peppercorns and thyme leaves. Boil until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Pour the liquid over the onions, let cool and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Pickles will keep for up to a year in the brine.
This is a great idea. I always have something pickled in the fridge too because I like the flavor boost it gives. But I’ve never used pearl onions. Often have cornichons around because they’re perfect to snack on while making dinner without filling me up.
I have been loving the onions, they are great to add to a sandwich and can add a ton of flavor to a simple green salad without having to do any work. They would also be a lovely addition to a cheese plate.
Ooh, homemade pickles are my favorite! I always have a jar of refrigerator pickled peppers and one of dill spears kicking around in the fridge. Never tried pickling onions before–but now I need a jar immediately!
Regarding the sugar in the recipe, is it really 1/2 CUP?
It is indeed 1/2 cup of sugar, but you can easily cut it down to 1 to 2 tablespoons if you are worried about the amount of sugar. They won’t be as sweet but are delicious either way. These days I make them with 2 tablespoons of sugar and rice vinegar so they are a little bit healthier and we love them that way too. I hope you like them if you try them, the spice combination and herbs are really what make them memorable so no worries if you want to cut down on the sugar!
I see you say cutting the sugar is okay, is the sugar necessary at all for preserving purposes?
You could cut the sugar back to 2 tablespoons but I wouldn’t omit it all together. Sugar isn’t necessary for preserving but is crucial for the flavor. The sugar helps balance the vinegar and without it they will be really sour and sharp tasting. You could use honey or maple syrup if you want something less processed. Hope that makes sense.
I wondered how a little balsamic vinegar would be for sweetness instead of sugar. Perhaps then only 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp of honey would be necessary.
You could easily reduce the amount of sugar in the brine but some sugar is necessary or the onions will be way too acidic. The balsamic will really change the taste of the pickle. If you were looking to reduce the sugar I would suggest using sweet rice vinegar and a teaspoon or 2 of honey and see how you like that. I’ve had a lot of success with rice vinegar when I don’t want a really sharp pickle. Hope that helps! Let me know if that works for you if you try it.