This month's secret ingredient has rings... and bite... and just a hint of lively royal color...
That's right, ladies and gentlemen - this month the fine folks at Small Measure chose alliums for our canning pleasure. I was initially stoked by this choice, since Vidalia onions usually make their debut this time of year. But two careful weeks of scanning the shelves at my favorite produce store yielded not a single Georgia sweet. So I bought some truck farmed purple ones and got on with my life.
I wanted to pickle those bad boys. Pickle them in a sweet brine and eat them by the dozen on spinach salads with oranges and local pecans. But somehow I couldn't find a recipe to meet my needs. So I gave that up and found a lovely one for caramelized onion relish (recipe linked at the end of the post).
I was especially taken by its simplicity. Except for salt and pepper, those are all of the ingredients right there.
Since I bought too many onions I decided to make a double batch. I should have checked that balsamic vinegar, though. I only had half the prescribed amount. The finished relish was perfectly edible, but I bet those extra couple of tablespoons would have really propelled it from good to delicious.
And then, wonder of wonders, I found a sweet onion pickle recipe. It was an amateur one, posted on group recipes, so I at first wondered if I could can it safely. But the acid ratios jibed with those of Lisa Zeidrich's bread and butter cucumber pickles in The Joy of Pickling. I even had all of the necessary spices. So it was full speed ahead.
I have to wait a month for these to mellow, so I can't report on the flavor just yet. But I will tell you one thing now: unless that turmeric adds a can't-be-missed flavor, I will be skipping it next time. My fingernails are still yellow.
Why, hello, Gretchen....
Caramelized Red Onion Relish from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. I found it featured on the Wood Ridge blog, which is great reading for anyone who's interested in sustainable living or homesteading.
Crunchy Pickled Red Onion Rings from Group Recipes, posted by the lovely and talented auntybea.