Friday, August 16, 2013

Pickled Onions: My takeaway from The Windy City

A few weeks ago, while in Chicago with Lisa-I couldn't help but see the theme which resonated throughout our meals: Pickled Onions.

On dips, guacamole, tacos, tortas, with pate-the purple crescent pieces of onion adorned everything.  They were delicious too-in some foods, the saltiness of the brine came through, others the sweetness, but in most it was the acidity that caught my attention.  So quickly we can tell when the guacamole is lacking something-typically we grab for the salt shaker, but so often its the acidity we're missing and should be looking for a lime.  I'm not suggesting to forgo the lime from your guacamole completely, but to consider the impact of the lime.

I couldn't go very long without having some more of these bowed, purple, pickled, goodness-so I came home and looked for a recipe that looked the most like what I had be experiencing.  And I found it at Inspired Taste.

The recipe was simple enough, but I was confused as to why they felt it took an hour to prep-it only took me 5 minutes.  I also cut the recipe in half and prepped my jar to can the onions-which only required boiling the jar and lid-not hard. 

The cloves, cinnamon and red pepper toasted nicely, but 3-5 minutes may be too long-so keep an eye on it so the dry ingredients don't burn.  The brine comes together quickly as well-this isn't a project to walk away from for a moment.  

I put the onions in the hot jar, topped with the brine and the boiled lid, put on the canning ring and picked up around the house while waiting to hear my lid 'POP'.

I know you should be able to eat these right away, but with pickling-I always feel its best to wait a few days to a month (if you have them sealed).

For those new to pickling and canning, the vinegar is the acid that preserves the food-keeping it safe to eat after long periods of time.  I also prefer eating 'canned' food out of glass as glass has been highly regarded as the safest food storage materials


As stated earlier, I like to wait a little before consuming pickled items.  The flavor changes and develops-in this case, you can see the difference in the onions.  The photo on the left was taken on Monday right after I finished the recipe.  The photo on the right was taken this morning, as the red in the onion has saturated each petal with a consistent, vibrant magenta-exactly like the onions I had in Chicago. 

They look ready for guacamole now, don't they?

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