Quick-pickling or “quickling” is a fast, simple way to pickle vegetables. You can whip these onions up at the beginning of cooking dinner and enjoy them with your meal. They are great on Mexican food, but really can go on anything that would benefit from a zesty tang. Try them on tacos, sandwiches, burgers, eggs, avocado toast, grain bowls … you’ll find they get used up pretty fast.
This recipe makes enough for an 8 oz jar (think jelly jar), but can easily be doubled. You can be flexible with the vinegar choices, just as you would if you were making salad dressing. Distilled white vinegar is the most commonly used vinegar in pickling, but substituting part apple cider vinegar adds a bit of sweetness. You can even replace the distilled white vinegar entirely. Rice, white wine or red wine vinegar are all fine options. The one vinegar I wouldn’t use in quickles, is balsamic.
If you don’t have red onion, a fresh yellow onion will work, it just won’t be as colorful or as sweet. You’ll loosely fill a jar with thinly-sliced onions and heat a simple brine on the stove. After a quick simmer, you’ll pour the brine over the onions, and you’re done!
1 medium red onion or enough to fill an 8 oz jar
½ cup water
¼ cup distilled white vinegar (or the vinegar of your choice)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ T maple syrup
1 ½ tsp salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
½ tsp caraway seeds
½ tsp whole peppercorns
1 garlic clove, halved
Cut off both ends of the onion, peel and cut in half. Place the onion with the flat side on the cutting board, and slice it as thinly as you can. Then, loosely pack the onion into an 8 oz jar.
Combine all the other ingredients in a saucepan on the stovetop. On medium heat, bring to a gentle simmer stirring constantly. Simmer 1-2 minutes until all ingredients are combined; pour mixture over the jar of onions. This is best done in the sink. Use a fork to push the onions down so they are all submerged. Depending on how tightly packed your jar was, you will likely have about ¼ cup of liquid left. Before discarding, salvage any seeds and peppercorns.
Let the onions sit out at room temperature for twenty minutes or so. Serve with a fork. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.