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Pickled Red Onions

The Goal

I’ve been meaning to make some pickled red onions after finding them amazing at Piada and Velvet Taco, and being told all I needed was red onions, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and a little bit of spice!

I got my red wine vinegar, and I got my red onion, but then the red onion disappeared on me, so I waited a month to remember my task and buy a red onion again. In the meantime, I picked up The Art of Fermentation by Katz, which interested me in actually fermenting them!

The Recipe

A messy kitchen counter containing a cutting board with a red onion, a couple of weird pumpkins that I avoided cooking into pie, and a half-full jar for fermenting in.

The ingredients are:

  • Red Onion
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Thai Chili Powder
  • Red Wine Vinegar

Hopefully, I sorted out actually getting the ratios right…. I kinda just eyeballed everything, I tried to have sugar for sweetness, red wine vinegar for taste, cinnamon and chili powder for spice & mold prevention, and salt, because you’ve gotta have salt!

To make it, I sliced the onion, put a bit of it in the jar, added a teensy bit of water, and started filling the jar up with slices. I added red wine vinegar to the jar. After that, I realized I had forgotten to make the brine be more than just water, so I added sugar, salt, and the Thai chili powder to a mixing bowl, and then added the onions and liquid, mixing and mashing and squashing the combination with my hands.

Once I was happy with it, I put the new mixture in the jar with a stick of cinnamon and an extra pinch of kosher salt to boot. I added more water to ensure the onions stay under the water, but I think I might need a better solution for ensuring they don’t get moldy sticking out the top of the water.

The Inspiration

The Art of Fermentation, by Katz

I found this book at a Friends and Family opening for a cute little ice cream shop opening up in The Heights of Houston - Honeychild’s Sweet Creams - they have a lending library with a lot of great books about food and people interacting!

The Library

Closeup of the bookshelf, containing titles: 'Matzoh Ball Gumbo', 'Reproach of Hunger', 'The Art of Fermentation', 'Reaping A Creater Harvest', and 'The End of Plenty'
Larger view of the lending library, shored up on the ends by two pastel pink bookends, with subway style tile backing the shelf.

Lending Library at Honeychild’s Sweet Cream

I’m excited to go back to the store and check out more of the books, as well as get my own copy of The Art of Fermentation from or a local bookshop!

I’m a bit nervous about making sure that the onions go well, but I’m excited about it!

Here’s the finished product:

Jar of Onions that just looks like onions in water

It’s being left out on the counter at room temperature with the lid on mostly for it to develop culture quickly!

Wish me luck!

We had impossible burgers with swiss cheese and hawaiian bread burger buns and the pickled red onions 😋

Bowl of nachos with pickled red onions, melted cheddar, barbacoa beef, and tortilla chips, with pickled onions and salsa beside

barbacoa nachos w/ red onions and cheddah 😋

Nachos with onions and green chile tomatillo salsa from H-E-B was delicious 🤤