Having had a good few days of very warm weather it seems very strange thinking about making pickles and preserves for autumn and winter use. Nevertheless I have been making a few things already.
All the apples which my neighbour kindly gave me are all used. I made four large jars of spiced apple and sultana chutney, and with the rest I have made a spicy apple mix for use in crumbles, muffins and pies.
Now I'm on to a big family favourite, pickled onions!
I remember watching my mother when I was little, sitting at the kitchen table. She always made her own pickles and preserves. In fact we hardly had any "shop bought" items. Bread was another item which was always homemade. Well it is better isn't it?
Anyway, back to the onions!
Once you've bought your onions, decide how many jars you need or want to make. I usually do three or four jars at a time and then do more (as required) at two week intervals.
I soak the onions in cold water, without peeling for 24 hours. This way they are much easier to peel and there are less tears!
Many people buy the ready spiced vinegar in jars or containers. I always spice my own. That way (after years of trial and error) I get the right mix. This is the way I do it. Don't go out and buy expensive vinegar there really is no need, I buy the cheapest, after all it's going to be spiced for pickles, not drunk like wine!
For each pint of vinegar I used one teaspoon of pickling spices and one dessert spoon of dark brown sugar. The sugar keeps the onions crisp and sharp. This spiced vinegar mix needs to be put into a saucepan and brought to a boil. Leave to boil for a few seconds, then turn off the heat, and put to one side to go completely cold, making sure that the sugar has dissolved.
Once the vinegar has gone completely cold, you can either pour it back into the bottles or store in a large container.
After the onions have been soaking for 24 hours in salted water, wash thoroughly, dry on a teatowel then pack into sterilised jars. I sterilise my jars by washing thoroughly and the putting them in a cold oven on a tray and then gently heating the oven. ( Some people use the dishwasher cycle, as I don't have a dishwasher this is my preferred method).
While the oven had been switched on I made this...
Back on the crafting front, I have yet to make my mind up on the colour (and fabric) for my chair. My knitting projects are still my main focus, for the moment,(yes, Christmas cards to be made soon!) as I have orders to fulfill....
In the meantime it's time for a cuppa and a slice of cake....