My grandmother on my father’s side, her name was Shibby. Legally, it was Shirley. But to me and what would come to be a number of others, she was Shibby. I take full credit for her name. When I was just a little little kid, I couldn’t say Shirley, and instead out came Shibby. Which for some reason stuck, for everyone not just me.
Shibby was her own little woman. I think she may have just met five feet tall. She loved bright colors, shoes, crafting and eating. I get my obsession with food from my dad’s side. My mom’s side you have to force everyone to go and eat at the holidays. Not my dad’s side.
Shibb could put on a spread. And she taught me that a sandwich isn’t just a sandwich, it’s a moment in time to make something great. She would literally unload the fridge onto the table with every possible sandwich option. Oh, and how she loved her dips and spreads. Another obsession of mine. The other day when I told my mom I was making pickled red onions, she just laughed and called me Shibby.
You see, I didn’t get very much time on this earth with Shibb. She died when I was just a kid. But apparently, my mom sees an awful lot of her in me. Which makes me wish more than anything, I had her in my life for more time. Time to pick her brain, time to learn from her. Time to feel the comfort of having someone so similar to you just be there.
So without knowing it, this one’s for you Shibb.
I’ve never pickled anything in my life before. And frankly, I can’t stand an actual pickle. So pickling is not in my nature. So many times I’ve seen pickled red onions on tacos or burgers, but never had I actually tired one. I loved the color of them, bright pops of pink. And I love acidic things. So, much like most things that come to be on Noming thru Life… it sounded like a good idea.
And the rest is history.
Now, this is really what’s called a “quick-pickle,” hehe that sounds kind of funny (sorry third grade moment), as it’s not actually meant for canning. I don’t can. It kind of freaks me out. Okay it really freaks me out because I would be that one person who loves it so much, and comes to find out she really sucks at it and gets sick from it… all the time. So I don’t can.
As these are considered a quick pickle version, they can be eaten one hour after making, but ideally four or more hours of soaking works best, and if you can manage it… a whole day or overnight is even better yet. The ones you see here (in the photos) have been pickling for 48 hours. The longer they sit, the pinker they get. And that’s all thanks to the vinegar pulling the color from the onions.
I highly recommend adding these to your must haves around the house/fridge. They can be used on (as some were mentioned) tacos, burgers, salads, soup garnishes, sandwiches, anything involving a potato and pretty much I’d approve of any other use as well. They add a bright pop of color and a tangy flavor to whatever you do choose to add them to. They can be slightly sweet or super acidic depending on your mixture as well. You can even add other flavor elements to your pickling ingredients to change it up if you have a particular use for them in mind.
Tips on the Quick Pickle for Red Onions:
Cutting: Ideally, you want to cut your onion rather thin. This helps for them to pickle faster and be ready in a shorter period of time. However, the thicker you make them the more crunch they will maintain. After trying it both ways, I prefer them thinner, but not paper thin. This allows me to control how much I use when placing on a dish as I don’t have big honking chunks that I will have to bite into. They also maintain some of their crunch so you won’t miss out on that either (unless you go paper thin, then you will lost most of the crunch factor).
Acidity: Your ratio of liquids when pickling will directly impact the acidity of your onions. The ratio I use of straight vinegar(s) makes for a more pickly/acidic onion. If you prefer yours to not be so acidic you can add water to your mix to help dilute the acidity. So in the case of this recipe, go for a 1/2 of red wine vinegar, and 1/4 cup each of apple cider vinegar and water. You can always add more water if necessary.
Flavor: You don’t have to stop at just a simple pickle, you can add other flavor elements in to create a more complex flavor in your onions if you’d like. Using this recipe as a starter simply add in additional flavor options like: peppercorn, oregano, a bay leaf, garlic (yum!) and jalapenos. You can also adjust the sweetener to your liking, adding more for a sweeter pickle, or skip it all together if you’re avoiding sugar. I like to add a small amount personally, to help balance the acidity. But that’s just me.
Stirring: When you first pour the pickling liquid over the onions, it is not going to cover them so don’t fret. In fact, the liquid may only cover half of your onions to start. So it’s essential that when you first pour your pickling liquid over the onions, you also stir and toss the onions in the liquid for a couple of minutes to help get everyone get going in the pickling process. When you return to stir again after a 15 minute rest, you will see that the onions have started to reduce and the liquid will now almost be covering the onions. After stirring try to pack as many onions as you can under the liquid, again it’s okay if they are not all covered. When it comes time to storing, follow the same steps of stirring the onions and packing them as tightly as you can in the jar to cover as many as you can with the liquid. The longer they soak the more they will reduce and the more liquid you will have available.
Tasting: Like with all kitchen creations, don’t be afraid to taste as you go. If after that first 15 minutes you are noticing your onions are going to be too acidic for you, carefully pour out up to half of your liquid and replace with water. Stirring to combine, of course. Just keep in mind the longer they sit the stronger they will get with whatever liquids or flavor add-ins you have used.
Pickling red onions is a super simple and easy way to add a punch of flavor to any dish. I’ve kept mine in the fridge for just over a week, but it’s usually pretty hard to keep them around this joint if we know they are there. My absolute favorite way to use them so far is on tacos. But as I said before I support any way you come up with to use them.
So have you pickled before? I’m about to to pickle everything! What are your favorite things to pickle?
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon or more coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Place sliced onion in a 2.5 quart or larger heat safe bowl, preferably glass.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Carefully pour mixture over onions in bowl. Stir coating the onions for two minutes. Let onions rest for 15 minutes. Return and once again stir onions for 1-2 minutes. Pack onions into liquid as much as can and let rest for an additional 15 minutes.
Stir onions one last time, and transfer to an airtight glass jar or container for storing. Make sure to press onions into the liquid, so that as many as possible are submerged. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Pickled red onions can be enjoyed after 1 hour of soaking, but are best after soaking overnight in the refrigerator. For more tips and information please see section in post called “Tips on the Quick Pickle for Red Onions.”