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Any way to pickle and can onions so that they aren't mushy?

December 2, 2017

So I quick pickle onions pretty often,and put them in the fridge. I tried canning them using the boiling water method and they became so soft and mushy that I could mash them between my fingers. I don't expect to get that amazing crunch of my fridge-pickled onions, but some texture and firmness would certainly be nice. My current acid solution is a mix of apple cider vinegar, a little brown sugar, and spices. I'd be open to trying fermentation if necessary.

Comments (4)

  • theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)

    Can you elaborate a bit more on your methods? What kind of onions (pearl onions, green onions, regular bulb onions)? How are you filling the jars? How are you processing them and for how long? And any other relevant information you can think of....

    Posting an exact recipe would sure help.


    gravesnear thanked theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)
  • digdirt2

    Agree with Rodney. In many cases it it the variety of onion used and the maturity of the onion when harvested that makes the most difference IME. The sweet, short storage varieties don't hold up at all well which is why pearl onions work best. But you still have to be very careful to not over-cook them. Others simply contain too much water.


    Another option if you are already using pearl onions is to add Pickle Crisp to the brine.


    gravesnear thanked digdirt2
  • gravesnear

    Sorry I didn't realize how much more there was to this. I use sliced red onions. Hot vinegar with a few tablespoons brown sugar poured over onions into the jars, jars submerged for ~15 minutes in boiled water bath. And thanks digdirt2 I'll look into that pearl onion recipe.

  • digdirt2

    Sliced onions will always turn mushy if heat processed. The thinner they are sliced, the mushier they get. Like cuke pickles made from slicers rather than pickling cukes, there is simply too much water content. Small hard onions cut into 1/2 chunks will do better.

    But please note that, as you describe, if your onions are not heated up prior to putting them into the jars then an even longer processing time would be required for proper heat penetration.

    If you want to continue to use your method, and I know there are lots of recipes out there for this, then as those recipes recommend, fridge storage is the way to go. I don't see how they could be heat processed without going mushy.


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