Pickled Red Onions & Quattro Stagioni Jars

So, I’ve never bothered doing any giveaways with free stuff or contests or any of that.  I like keeping this page more like a journal that I can use to remember good recipes and gardening ideas, and I don’t feel like spending a bunch of time trying to turn it into something more than that.  BUT…. when a fancy jar company offers to send me some of their jars, that’s a whole different situation.  I will never say no to more jars, whether they’re dusty ones from grandma’s basement or these gorgeous Quattro Staggioni jars that I used this morning.bormioli rocco jarsBormioli Rocco sent me a box of their Quattro Stagioni jars and some canning goodies (opening it was like Christmas in the middle of summer!) and they’re hosting a giveaway on their Facebook page where five winners will receive the same box that I got. All you have to do is go and like their page.

Quattro Stagioni jars have a one piece lid, which I know not everyone has worked with, but is really not much different than a two-piece lid.  Food in Jars has a good instructional over here explaining how to use them, so I won’t completely rewrite it, but the main tip is that you only need to screw on the lids until they’re moderately tight. Food in Jars says: ” When you screw this lids on, you only want to tighten them to the point when you feel the rim of the jar make contact with the sealing compound. Don’t go any tighter or the air won’t be able to escape and you will have compromised your seal.”

(Also, can I say how nice it is that if I am insecure about canning knowledge, all I need to do is go check on the Food In Jars page to confirm it? I don’t know what people did before the internet and food blogs.)floodgate farms torpedo onionsSince these are pretty jars, I wanted to make something pretty to put in them.  I settled on pickled red onions and apricots on in honey syrup.  I’m crazy about the pickled onions. We grilled some venison kebabs the other night, then made sandwiches on french bread with pickled red onions and lots of mustard.  Jason and I drank cold beers and watched the baseball game on tv. and it was pure summer bliss.  You could also put these on burgers, in a wrap with falafel or grilled vegetables, or toss them in a salad.  Once the onions are gone, save the brine and use it for salad dressing.pickled red onions and apricots in honey syrupPICKLED RED ONIONS

Use the freshest onions you can find for a vibrant hot pink color.  I bought these gorgeous onions from Floodgate Farm at the Redwood Valley Farmers Market.

Cook Time: 45 min.

Makes: 7 1/2 pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 5 c. white wine vinegar*
  • 10 c. sliced peeled red onions (1/4″ thick rings)
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • a few sprigs of fresh herbs: I used marjoram today, but sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, etc. are all fine
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids.

In a large, nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar with the peppercorns and the garlic.  Bring up to a boil and add the sliced onions.  Stir gently and simmer for five minutes, until the onions soften.

Place a small sprig of fresh marjoram in each jar, and then use a slotted spoon to fill up the jar with onions. Ladle  the infused hot vinegar over the onions, leaving a generous 1/2″ of headspace.  Use a chopstick or rubber spatula to remove the air bubbles and adjust the headspace as necessary.  Wipe rims and attach lids, then process for ten minutes, adjusting for altitude if necessary.

*I’ve also used red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white vinegar.  The recipe comes out fine with all of them.

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Allium Blossom Vinegar

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been harvesting all of our alliums from the garden.  One of my beds of red onions had started shooting up flower stalks before I got to it, and after seeing the chive blossom vinegar from Food In Jars last year,  I thought I would try and turn the blossoms into something lovely.

The result:

You have to try this.  It takes two minutes. The jar looks gorgeous sitting on the pantry shelf.  And the flavor makes every savory thing that you cook taste awesome.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Snip some chive blossoms or onion blossoms or garlic blossoms, or some garlic scapes even.  No specific amount, just estimate and try to get about as much will fill a quart jar.

2. Wash them thoroughly, then dry them thoroughly.

3. Put them in a clean jar.  They should be pretty loosely packed with plenty of room for the vinegar around all of the blossoms and stalks.

4. Cover them with vinegar. I used white vinegar. You could use white wine or champagne vinegar too, of course, though I kind of like that the white vinegar was a really neutral blank slate.  (but really I bought it because it was dirt cheap).

5. Let the jar sit in a cool, dark corner for a couple of weeks.

6. Take off the lid and smell the vinegar; it will probably smell wonderfully aromatic, like scallions.  If you’re happy with how strong the infusion is, go ahead and strain out the blossoms and it’s ready to use.

7. Decide that it’s delicious and go chop down every allium flower in the garden so you can actually get a couple quarts for the pantry.

I ended up playing around with several varieties of alliums. This second set of pictures are blossoms from elephant garlic, one of my favorite things in the garden.  The garlic cloves are massive and a snap to peel, they shoot up gorgeous purple flower blossoms that look great in cut flower bouquets, and the vinegar made from the flowers has a lovely green garlic scent to it.

Oh, and a recipe suggestion-

We had grilled eggplant, roasted potatoes and falafel with tzatziki sauce the other night.  The tzatziki was just plain yogurt with diced cucumber, chopped fresh dill, black pepper and a generous pour of the onion blossom vinegar stirred in, and it was… explosive!