Until a few weeks ago, I always declined any food that contained raw onions. When cooked, these bulbous root vegetables have miraculous, transformative powers that can liven up the blandest ingredients, but eating them raw always left me feeling remorseful. That is until I discovered how to quick pickle red onions! It really was life changing…well in relation to salad anyway. Somehow leaving the onions to sit in a sweetened vinegar marinade completely removes the punch and leaves a sweetness packed with flavor. It transformed a ho-hum greek salad into a real treat.
1/2 Cup sherry vinegar
1 Red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon honey
Mix the sherry vinegar, honey and thinly sliced onions in a large non-reactive bowl.
Leave at room temperature for 1 hour* or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Drain the onions before using.
* Note: the marinade can be used as part of a tasty salad dressing.
Know your Onions:
Onions in the US and Canada are seasonal! Though they make look very similar, there are 2 main categories of onions. The differentiating factor being when the vegetable is harvested.How can you tell the what variety you are buying at the grocery store between spring/summer and fall/winter onions? Here are the major according to the NOA (National Onion Association, of course!)
Spring/Summer Onion Traits
- Available from March through August
- Range in flavor from sweet to mild
- Can be identified by their thin, lighter-colored skin
- Shorter shelf life, because of higher water content
- Best to use in salads, sandwiches, and fresh, lightly-cooked or grilled dishes
- Many specialty sweet onions are part of this category and are sold under a specific trade name or label
Fall/Winter Onion Traits
- Available August through May
- Easy to recognize by their multiple layers of thick, darker colored skin
- Lower in water content, they have a longer shelf-life
- Range in flavor from mild to pungent
- Best for savory dishes that require longer cooking times or more flavor
Since I live in Montreal Canada and we live in a state of deep freeze up until April, I will have to wait till June/ July to get my hands on summer onions, but be sure to ask your local grocer which varieties are available!