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Author Topic: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?  (Read 8073 times)

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cheshirecheese

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Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« on: July 11, 2011, 12:35 »
I've always used the brine method when preparing pickled onions, leaving them for at least 24 hours before rinsing, drying and then bottling in whatever combination of vinegar and spices I'm using.  However, I've read two or three recipes lately (including Val's on here) where the onions are just layered with salt and left overnight rather than submerging them in brine.  They're then rinsed, dried and bottled in the same way.  Anybody know if it makes any difference?


mumofstig

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2011, 12:43 »
Dry salting removes some of the 'juice' from the onions so the vinegar can get further into them. A good idea if your onions are 'strong'  ;)
Lesley  
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Kleftiwallah

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2011, 18:09 »

I'm hoping to have 'crunchy' onions this Christmas so I'll be watching this discussion with interest.  Up to now, they've been a bit soggy towards the end of Yule. >:(   

So if anyone has a failsafe recipe.  ::). . .. ...  .. .. . ..Cheers,   Tony.
I may be growing OLD, but I refuse to grow UP !

Aunt Sally

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2011, 18:20 »
I've always used very strong brine.  I've had no complaints about soggy onions (or in my case shallots).

Kleftiwallah

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2011, 19:00 »

Funilly enough the reason for my question was that I've just cleared all the shallots from our allotment.  So it is the strength of the brine that keeps 'em crunchy ? ? ?  What mix of salt and water do you recommend ?   :) Cheers,   Tony.

Aunt Sally

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2011, 19:38 »
Cold water with "lots of" salt - no idea quite how much that is.  The strong salt solutions sucks the water out of the shallots/onions which is then replaced by the vinegar and they then crisp up.  They should feel rather flabby after being in the salt solution.

cheshirecheese

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2011, 17:14 »
Thanks for the responses - I decided to use the brining method again this time, but have added more salt.  My original recipe said 2oz salt per pint of water, but I've increased this to 3.5oz.  I'm going to have another go just using dry salt at the weekend as an experiment in order to make a comparison.  Obviously I won't know till they've matured and I can taste them/assess them for the 'crunch factor', but I'll post any further developments in about 4-6 weeks' time!  I'm also using shallots, and have tried a new recipe this time with balsamic vinegar in addition to my usual blend of spices, so they look wicked ... literally (i.e. very dark)!

Aunt Sally

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2011, 17:35 »
Make the brine stronger !!!!

This recipe uses one litre of water with half a kilo of salt :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A655535

cheshirecheese

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2011, 17:47 »
WOW!!  Makes the recipe I've been using look positively faint-hearted!  Right - revised strategy then, I'll give the increased salt in the brine a go this weekend and see how we fare.

8doubles

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2011, 18:02 »
I think brine is more effective than salting unless you completely surround the onion/shallot so there are no air gaps.
Probably saves some salt using brine solution.

cheshirecheese

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2011, 18:30 »
Yes, it's the uncertainty re the complete coverage that's stopped me using dry salt before - I'm defo going to try increasing the salt in the brine.  Half a kilo per litre is more or less equivalent to 8oz per pint, so approximately four times more than I'd used before!

Malturn

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2011, 19:25 »
My OH always uses the dry salt method and we have had some pickled onions for 2 years and were only just starting to soften then. She only pours enough salt on to them to give them a light covering not to completly bury them.
Malcolm
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 19:27 by Malturn »
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PeterP

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2011, 10:45 »
I am always a bit wary about using too much salt.
So I go for the 3/4ozs per pint (or even less.
And shallots do keep much better than onions.
The other question is;
Do you peel them before or after the soaking ?
I changed to leaving the skins on some years ago, and found it works quite well.
We are still eating crunchy shallots from last year.
As to watering eyes ... I tend to do it outside in the fresh air, which takes most of aroma of the onions/shallots away.
Our family recipe does include a good dash of sherry along with a touch of brown sugar.
Way back in the 80's the BBC did a pickling series with David Mabey & David Collison, followed by a book 'The Perfect Pickle Book'.
Get hold of this book if you can
It really does cover the world.
Pete

rhysdad

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2011, 13:28 »
As a newbie to the 'pickled onion/shallot' crowd i wanted to just clear up a small question; do i need to dry/cure the shallots first or can they go into the brine freshly lifted (lifted mine Sunday just gone)!!?

PeterP

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Re: Brine or 'dry salt' for pickled onions?
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2011, 17:12 »
Rhysdad,
For myself I just clean them up well, then stick them straight into the brine.
Normally done overnight, last thing in the evening.
No panic in the morning, sometimes it has been well into the afternoon before I have lifted them out and rinsed them, then peeled.
Some folk peel them first.
Doesn't seem to make that much difference to the little devils.
Pete



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