I love canning stuff. I get so sad in the middle of the winter when fresh, seasonal produce seems so faraway…but then I remember my canning stash and I get so excited about whatever might be preserved for later. I get excited (and a little hoard-y) about the stuff I’ve frozen too, but it just isn’t as exciting as those cute little glass jars.

Homemade canned food also make great last minute gifts for friends, so I love having them on hand since I’m quite forgetful in that department. I ordered a big order of sweet onions from the co-op several weeks ago, but I didn’t use them up fast enough so some were starting to look a little sad. I found this recipe and knew I had to try it. I was expecting them to be tasty, but not quite this tasty. If you don’t want to mess with canning, just make a batch (you may want to halve or quarter this recipe), stick them in the fridge and use them within 2-3 weeks. You’ll thank me later.


Sweet and sour pickled onions
Not at all adapted from Put ‘Em Up


4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp celery seed
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp turmeric
4 pounds big sweet onions (I sliced mine, but the recipe calls for chopped – it’s up to you)
6 garlic cloves, sliced


Bring the first seven ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Add the onions and garlic and return everything to a boil, stirring constantly just until everything is mixed together. Remove from the heat. If you’re not canning these, ladle the onion mixture into your jars, cover and refrigerate (for up to three weeks).

If canning, use the water bath method. Ladle mixture into clean, hot canning jars (I used a mix of pint and half-pint jars because that is what I had on hand – I would use half-pint if you have them). Make sure the onions are covered by at least 1/4 inch of liquid/brine. Leave 1/4 inch head space at the top of the jar. Tap the jar on the counter to release any air bubbles, and I like to run a butter knife around the outside to ensure the air is all released. Wipe the rim of the jars clean, center your fresh lids on the jar, and screw on the jar band. Process in water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars after ten minutes and sit aside for 24 hours. Check seals after 24 hours, and then store in a dark place for up to one year.

We have been eating these on nearly everything, but my favorite is on top of freshly grilled brats or burgers. We’ve used it on scrambled eggs, sandwiches, salads. We haven’t tried something that didn’t taste better without the pickled onions on top!