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OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Pickled red onions are easy, fast, delicious

by Kelly Brant | August 26, 2020 at 2:18 a.m.
Quick pickled red onions take on a pink hue after a couple of days. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

Now that onions are safe to eat again (knock on wood), today seems like a good time to share this quick pickle recipe. I've been eating these on everything from burgers and hot dogs to salads and nachos, and even just straight from the jar a time or two.

The recipe could not be simpler: Whisk together some water, vinegar, salt, sugar and black peppercorns if you're in the mood, add thinly sliced red onion and wait an hour. That's it. They'll keep for about two weeks in the fridge — if they last that long.

As written this recipe makes enough brine for 1 smallish to average onion, which is just right for my two-person household. If you have more onions or more mouths, increase the brine as needed for as many onions as you want to pickle. If you don't have apple cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar works well too. Or if you like, use a combination. Rice wine vinegar is also a good option, although if it's seasoned, you may want to use less sugar.

Many quick pickle recipes call for boiling water, but mine doesn't. Using hot brine will flavor the onions more quickly, but the trade-off is in texture. I don't want to lose any of the onion's crunch.

Quick Pickled Red Onions

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3 to 5 whole black peppercorns, optional

1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rings

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of water, the vinegar, salt, sugar and black peppercorns (if using) until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the thinly sliced onion and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Transfer onions to an airtight container and add enough of the brine to cover. Serve immediately or refrigerate until chilled. Onions will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

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