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How to Make Pickled Pearl Onions - Easily! With Step-by-step Directions, Photos, Ingredients, Recipe and Costs

How to make Pickled Pearl Onions

Yield: About 3 to 4 pint jars

Click here for a PDF print version

Making and canning your own pickled pearl onions is easy, safe and allows you to grow more onions that you can eat fresh, and have them in the cold of winter!

Ingredients

  • 8 cups peeled white pearl onions (four 10-ounce bags unpeeled pearl onions if you buy them at a grocery store)
  • 51/2 cups white distilled vinegar (5%)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons canning salt (optional)
  • 2 cups sugar, Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, , honey or equivalent sweetness of Stevia
  • 8 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 4 teaspoons celery seed

Equipment

  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars) 
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
  • 1 large pots; teflon lined, glass or ceramic.
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • 1 Water Bath Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.).  Note: we sell many sizes and types of canners for all types of stoves and needs - see canning supplies
  • Pint canning jars (Ball or Kerr jars can be found at grocery stores, like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, grocery stores, even online - about $9 per dozen jars including the lids and rings).  Be sure to get wide mouth jars to fit the pickles in!  Pint size works best! 
  • Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar.  They may only be used once.
  • Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars.  They may be reused many times.

Pickled Pearl Onions - Directions - Step by Step

Step 1 - Get the jars and lids sanitizing

Canning jars in the dishwasherThe dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle.  I get that going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars.  If you don't have a dishwasher, submerge the jars in a large pot (the canner itself) of water and bring it to a boil.Sterilizing jars

Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!

Get the canner heating up

Fill the canner about 1/2 full of water and start it heating (with the lid on).

 

 

 

Start the water for the lids

Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes.  Note: everything gets sanitized in the water bath (step 7) anyway, so this just helps to ensure there is no spoilage later!)


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Step 2 - Peel the onionsboiling onions

With your hands rub the onions and remove any loose dry outer skins.
Next, to peel onions, place a few at a time in a wire-mesh basket or strainer, (or lacking those, simply dump them in) into a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove and place in cold (preferably icy) water for 30 seconds. Cut a 1/16th-inch slice from the root end, and then remove the peel and 1/16th inch from the other end of the onion. The tough outer layer should slide off easily now.

Step 3 - Combine the other ingredients in a separate pot and boilboiling water, vinegar, sugar, salt

Combine

  • 51/2 cups white distilled vinegar (5%)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons canning salt (optional)
  • 2 cups sugar, Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, , honey or equivalent sweetness of Stevia

in a large pot (8 quarts or larger) and bring to boil  and boil gently 3 minutes.

 Step 4 - Add the onions and simmeronions simmering

Add peeled onions and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and heat until the onions are half-cooked (about 5 minutes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5 - Add spices to each jarpint jar with mustard seed and celery seed

Meanwhile, place 2 teaspoons mustard seed and 1 teaspoon celery seed in the bottom of each clean, hot pint jar.

Step 6 - Fill jars with onions, pickling liquid and seal

Fill hot jars with the hot onions, leaving 1-inch headspace. Cover with hot pickling liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.

Step 7 - Process (boil) the jars in the water bath canner

Process in a boiling water canner, as recommended in the table below.

 

USDA recommended process time for Pickled Pearl Onions in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 10 min 15 20


Step 8 - Done!

Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals. Allow pickled onions to sit in processed jars for 3 to 5 days before consuming for best flavor development.  The jars should be good for about a year if stored in a cool dark place.


This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2006; reviewed May 2009.

 

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