I love citrus fruits, but I find that the selection up here in the chilly DC metro is horrid. No offense to Texas, but I don’t like their grapefruits. This is why I was ecstatic when my loving parents sent me a crate of fresh Florida citrus (juice oranges, Minneola tangelos, and white grapefruits). As much as I loved to eat these beauties fresh out of hand, though, I was rushing against the clock to finish them before they past their prime. Additionally, I in my selfishness wanted to save the flavor for the summer months. That is what canning is for, right?
This year, President’s Day was gray and dreary, so I could think of no better way to spend my day off than making some of the prettiest preserves I could imagine – pickled red onions and mixed citrus marmalade.
Last summer, when I spent a weekend in Boston, I picked up a quick lunch at a burrito/wrap restaurant after walking the Freedom Trail. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, or much at all about the burrito I ate, except that it was really good and had the prettiest pickled onions in it.
Wishing to recreate the flavor of those onions, I searched the Internet for ideas and recipes. I found two that I really like: this one from David Lebovitz, which had the spices i wanted, and this one from Food in Jars, which I liked because it could be canned. So I combined the measurements from one with the spices from the other to create the following pickles.
I started by boiling three large red onions (roughly 3 lbs) in water for four minutes.
After draining the onions, I made a hot brine from white vinegar, water, sugar, pickling salt, black peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, chili peppers, and ground allspice (I didn’t have any whole on hand). I added the onions and took the mixture off the burner.
After dividing the mixture into three jars, I processed them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. The reward was three jars of stunning pink onions, no food coloring needed. I haven’t tried them yet, since the ought to sit for a bit before serving, but they look so pretty I can’t wait to try them.