Pickling and canning are typically considered a late in the season activity– a way of holding on to the last of summer’s great bounty. But these Pickled Spring Onions are a lesson in the value of holding on to the charms of spring. Which are far more fleeting and delicate– but no less delightful.
Though I chose spring onions in this example. There are plenty of good candidates this time of year. Spring garlic, ramps (depending where you live) and sugar snap peas are all well worth preserving. Pickling the best of the season allows you to hold onto spring, indefinitely if done properly.
Pickling is simple. I understand that the canning process can be intimidating. Who wants to poison their whole family with a bad batch of pickled peas? But if you follow the instructions you’re sure to succeed. If you are still unsure skip the “canning” and store them tightly covered in the refrigerator up to one month. They’ll be fine for eating. Besides, they rarely last a month anyway.
But now it’s time for my opinion. You’ll notice my pickling “juice” is fairly simple. I’ve used white vinegar and just a few spices and herbs. I prefer to save the stronger tastes for later in the season vegetables. I think that spring produce requires a light touch. Save the cider and red wine vinegars for pickled peppers and okra. Big bold dill is better appreciated with crunchy cucumbers. You get the idea, don’t let my rules stop you from experimenting. The best of the spring season will be gone before you know it. GREG
- 1 c white vinegar
- 1/2 c sugar
- 2 t kosher salt
- 1 T whole coriander seeds
- 1 t fennel seeds
- 1/2 t whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 oz fresh spring onions, scallions or ramps with the greens and roots attached
Sterilize 1 (16 oz jar) with its lid according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Meanwhile, stir together vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, red-pepper flakes, thyme, and 2 cups water in a large sauce pan sized to fit the onions flat and in close to a single layer.pan. Bring to a boil. Add onions; return to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
Carefully gather the onions into a bundle all facing the same direction. Place them in the prepared jar, root end first, then swirl the greens inside. Fill the jar with as much liquid as necessary to completely submerge. Spoon in as much of the seeds and thyme as you can. Secure the jars with the sterilized lids & bands. Place the jars back in the sterilizer or pot of water and process by boiling for 15 minutes. Remove carefully with tongs. Cool, then store in a dry place for at least 3 weeks before opening.
Once opened they can be refrigerated in their liquid in an airtight container up to 1 month.
Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living