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Preparing and Canning Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Pearl Onions

  • 8 cups peeled white pearl onions (four 10-ounce bags unpeeled pearl onions as purchased)
  • 5½ cups white distilled vinegar (5%)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons canning salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 4 teaspoons celery seed

Yield: About 3 to 4 pint jars

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure:

  1. Wash and rinse pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids and bands according to manufacturer's directions.
  2. To peel onions, place a few at a time in a wire-mesh basket or strainer, dip in boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove and place in cold water for 30 seconds. Cut a 1/16th-inch slice from the root end, and then remove the peel and 1/16th inch from the other end of the onion.
  3. Combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar in an 8-quart Dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil and boil gently 3 minutes. Add peeled onions and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and heat until the onions are half-cooked (about 5 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, place 2 teaspoons mustard seed and 1 teaspoon celery seed in the bottom of each clean, hot pint jar. Fill hot jars with the hot onions, leaving 1-inch headspace. Cover with hot pickling liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.
  5. Process in a boiling water canner, as recommended in Table 1. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.

Allow pickled onions to sit in processed jars for 3 to 5 days before consuming for best flavor development.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Pickled Pearl Onions in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 10 min 15 20


Developed at The University of Georgia, Athens, for the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Released by Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., Department of Foods and Nutrition, College of Family and Consumer Sciences. October 2005.

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