Dena DePaoli's Pickled Silverskin Onions

This recipe is my Auntie Dena's and just reading it brings back memories from my childhood. I remember thinking these pickles were perhaps the most disgusting thing on the planet. Oh how your tastebuds evolve with age :). Perhaps it wasn't even the flavour that disgusted me but the hours it seemed to take to peel the mountains of onions that my mom and my aunt would buy and then turn into pickles.

Now, everytime I go to visit her I practically beg her to bring out a jar of these pickles and I think I could sit down and eat an entire jar on my own in one sitting. And what I wouldn't give to get my hands on a mountain of silverskin onions the size that they used to be able to get in the early 80's. I have searched high and low for someone in Ontario who carries silverskin onions in larger quantities than those little mesh bags that seem to cost $4.99 and wouldn't even make a single jar. So far, each summer I come up empty handed.

But if you are lucky enough to get a large bag of these and want to make perhaps the best pickle recipe I have ever come across, then look no further.

Silverskin Pickled Onions

10 pounds silverskin onions

24 cups water

2 1/2 cups coarse sale

4 cups white vinegar

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place the the onions into the pot for 3 minutes. Remove, drain and cover in cool water immediately. This will help (at least a little bit) the skins peel off easier. This is where you are going to cuss and swear because it takes some time. But trust is all worth it in the end.

Combine the water and salt. Pour over the onions and let stand for a week. Rinsing the onions every evening and returning them back into the original brine. Rinse thoroughly before pickling in jars. You will want to prepare your jars accordingly.

After you have let the onions sit in the brine for a week and have rinsed them thoroughly you are ready for the next step. Place the onions in 500ml jars.

Combine the vinegar, sugar and cinnamon. Heat the water to boiling and reduce and simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved and then remove the cinnamon stick. Ladles mixture into the jars, leaving 2cm headspace. Place sealed jars into pot of rolling water and process for 10 minutes.

You will want to give these 4-6 weeks to absorb all the wonderful flavours before you eat.

If you try this recipe, let me know your thoughts and if you leave in the Toronto area and come across large quantities of silverskin onions, let me know!