How to Peel Onions for Pickling

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You can peel onions for pickling.
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Onions are a delicious and versatile vegetable that can be consumed raw or cooked in dishes like soups and salads, and you can also pickle them in vinegar. You don't have to find pickled onions for sale; you can peel and pickle them yourself to enjoy them throughout the year.


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Choosing Onions for Pickling

You can find many recipes online for pickling onions using different types of vinegar and other ingredients. You can also choose what type of onion you want to pickle. Pearl onions are a popular choice, especially if you want to pickle the onion whole. These small onions are 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter and have a sweet, mild flavor. White is the most common color, but you can also find red and gold varieties as well.


You can also slice and pickle larger onions. Red onions are often consumed raw for their beautiful coloring and peppery flavor but are also great for pickling. White onions tend to have a stronger flavor than other types of onions and are another great option for pickling.

Peeling Onions for Pickling

Peeling onions for pickling is the first step in the process. Pearl onions can be a bit more difficult to peel due to their small size, but if you blanch them, the skin should come off easily. Fill a large pan with water and put it on the stove over high heat. You will want enough water to fully cover the onions you are going to peel.


While you are waiting for the water to boil, cut off the ends of the onions with a sharp knife. Then, place the onions in the boiling water for two minutes. Remove the onions from the heat and immediately place them in ice water. Once the onions are cool, remove them from the ice and place them on paper towels or a clean towel.


Now, simply remove the skin. For small onions, you can pinch one of the cut ends, and the onion may pop out. If this doesn't work, gently rub the skin of the onion and it should peel off easily.

Peeling and Slicing Onions

For larger onions, you don't need to blanch them first. With a sharp knife, cut off the root and stem ends of the onion. Then, cut the onion in half from the root to the stem end. Cutting it this way instead of making a horizontal cut between the root and stem ends will keep more of the onion cells intact and offer a milder flavor.


Once the onion is cut in half, you can easily peel the skin and the first outer layer of the onion. Now, cut the onion into thin slices, again cutting from the root to the stem.

Pickling the Onions

Once the onions are prepared, you can pickle them. Use your favorite pickling recipe and pour the liquid over the onions. Once the onions cool, transfer them along with the liquid into a Mason jar. Seal the jar and place the onions in your refrigerator. You can start eating them and using them in recipes in just a few hours depending on the recipe.


One basic pickling recipe involves bringing white vinegar, sugar, salt and water to a boil and then pouring it over the onions. You can expand on this recipe with other ingredients, such as anise seeds, cloves, mustard seeds or peppercorns.