Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pickled Red Onions

Now you may be thinking HUH? Why would you pickle onions?, my father eats these by the truck load, and two, they go awesome on a pulled pork sandwich! Now grant it, all of the jars I made were packed away nicely into a sturdy box and made their way across a few states. They now currently reside in Tennessee with my father just waiting for the day that he will open them and start eating them right out of the jar...but I digress. This is so easy and so utterly tasty. You can make refrigerated pickled onions and they will last for weeks, or you can go the extra step and process them in a water bath for 10 minutes which is what I did so my dad could keep them for a while. It is your basic brine along with onions. When I made these, I actually used about eight very LARGE red onions and really doubled the brine recipe, but if you are looking to just make this for a tasty pulled pork sandwich, go ahead and just use one or two red onions.

My father can't have a lot of salt in his diet so you may want to add a bit more salt and sugar in your brine. I would mix the brine and do a quick taste test to make sure it is not to HOLY COW for you.

8 - 9 large red onions
8 cups cider vinegar
3 tbsp pickling salt
2 tbsp sugar

Peel and thinly slice the onions into half shaped moons. In hot, sterilized jars, pack as many onions as you can fit into one jar. Don't be afraid to smoosh them down. Once the hot liquid hits the onions, they will actually shrink a bit so it will create space in the jar. In a large sauce pan, bring the vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Ladle the hot liquid into the jars with the onions, seal and process the jars according to manufacturer's directions in a water bath. Remove the hot jars and let cool in a non-draft area of your kitchen. Once cooled, make sure all of the jars have sealed. For those jars that have not sealed, you can turn those into your refrigerator onions. What you will get is a beautiful pink hued jar of onions that will be absolutely fantastic with your meals.

Apple Chutney

I absolutely adore this time of year. A dear friend of ours has a plot of land and years ago planted about 5 or 6 different types of apple trees, crab apple trees and two pear trees. She lets us come and harvest these luscious fruits whenever we wish. This past weekend we struck gold and pick two large bags of different types of apples, one large bag of crab apples and one bag of pears. Since there is no humanly way possible for us to eat all of these apples prior to them being turned over to the lil bugaboos, I decided to make a yummy chutney. I tried my hand at this last year and we just loved it. Now I canned my recipe, but you could definitely pair down the recipe and just make it on the fly. Or since we had a huge amount of apples (and I still didn't use them all), I doubled, possibly even tripled the batch and ended up with 30 jars of this wonderful goodness. Roast a pork, and pour this chutney over it and you will be in heaven my friends.

2 quarts apples (any kind, we had about 3 different kinds and mixed them)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 lbs. seedless golden raisins
4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 red peppers, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 1/2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 tablespoons candied ginger
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons table salt
4 cups white vinegar

Apple Preparation: Wash, peel, core and chop your apples. Place into a pot with water and lemon juice to prevent browning. We had a large pot with about 1 cup of lemon juice.In a large stock pot, combine all of the above ingredients, one at a time and stirring in between each addition. Over medium heat, simmer the mixture for 60 to 85 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.Once mixture is done cooking, ladle it into hot and clean mason jars, leaving a 1/2" head space. Use a soft cotton towel and wipe the rims clean before placing the seal and ring onto your jar. Process jars in your water bath canner for 10 to 15 minutes or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once they are done, carefully remove them from the water and let them cool in a non-drafty area of your kitchen.