How to make pickled onions

Tony Abbott eats Onion

When news emerged that Malcolm Turnbull was challenging Tony Abbott, Australians responded on social media in the cruelly funny way that should be expected of a nation with a healthy disrespect for authority tweeting #putoutyouronions, along with photos of onions placed outside people’s homes.

It’s a mashup of the poignant “put out your bats” tribute to the late cricketer Phillip Hughes and Abbott’s habit in 2015 of eating raw onions in front of the camera.

To mark the national changing of the guard Rebecca Sullivan, who runs Dirty Girl Kitchen, an Adelaide-based organisation dedicated to instilling what she calls ‘granny skills’ in the next generation of home cooks, sent Business Insider who recipe for pickled onions.

Because when the going gets tough, the tough should make pickled onions.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Pickled onions


1.25 kg pickling onions
1/4 cup fine white salt
1 litre water
2 litres white vinegar
2 litres brown malt vinegar or a mix with half apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cm piece of ginger, bruised
1 cinnamon stick

For the jars
yellow mustard seeds
brown mustard seeds
fresh or dried bay leaves
cinnamon sticks

Blanch the onions for about an hour to loosen the skins, then drain and peel. Put the onions in a large bowl and add the salt and water. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 24 hours. The next day, wash and dry the onions and set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the vinegars, sugar, garlic, ginger and cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil, then boil for 10 minutes.

Spoon the onions into sterilised jars, then add some of the decorative ingredients such as mustard seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.

Strain the vinegar mixture into a jug then pour into the jars to cover the onions. Top up the jars with other decorative spices, then seal.

Store in a cool, dark place. For the best flavour, let the onions mature for at least three months before eating.