Quick Pickled Vidalia Onions ~ this sweet onion refrigerator pickle takes just minutes to prepare, and you’ll reap the rewards all summer long on burgers, brats, steaks, sandwiches and tacos!
Quick pickles, or ‘quickles’ as they’re sometimes called, are my specialty. I don’t go in for big vats of boiling water, tongs, and sterilizing jars, etc. I make my pickles the easy way, in small batches, and even without all the boiling, etc., these pickles will last a good long while in the refrigerator. Pickling is a natural preservation method ~ when you bathe food in a vinegar solution, the acidity kills bacteria. But a pickling brine adds tons of flavor, too, so it’s a great technique even if you want to eat ALL THE ONIONS right away. Like me.
Truly any onion can be pickled, I’ve made PICKLED RED ONIONS that are the most gorgeous magenta color, and you could use white or yellow as well. But Vidalias are only around for a short season, and so it just makes sense to grab them while you can, and use them in every way possible. For you Vidalia fans out there, I’ve got lots of great recipes on the blog, but probably the one I’m most fond of right now is my VIDALIA ONION SLAW, if you love these onions like I do, then check that one out.
- Vidalias originated in the 1930s in Vidalia Georgia.
- True Vidalia onions can only be grown in Georgia, by law, but they’re shipped all across the country.
- The onions are so mild and sweet you can eat them raw like an apple. They have a characteristic squat shape and very thin, papery skin.
- The onions are so sweet because the soil they are grown in is unusually low in sulfur.
- Vidalia season is from spring to early summer, but that has recently been extended thanks to new technology in controlled atmosphere storage.
- There are other varieties of sweet onion such as Maui and Walla Walla. There are also generic sweet onions which you will find in your produce section year round.
- Use them just like you would any other onion, only prepare to become obsessed.
Technically you can pickle with vinegar alone, but it’s really the added spices that contribute the flavor. Here in California I can pick bay leaves and pink peppercorns right from my neighborhood trees, I love it. I hardly ever return from a walk around the block without something in hand. There’s a Brazilian pepper tree in the side walk strip across the street, and I collect sprigs when the seeds are ripe, and then let them air dry. Pink peppercorns are a different species entirely from black pepper*, but they have a similar flavor. You can of course use store bought peppercorns of any color, black, white, pink, or green.
*Caution: pink peppercorns are from the same family as cashews and pistachios and can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to tree nuts.
This is a quick pickle and you can use the onions in as little as a few hours. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for at least a month. The photo below was taken as I pulled the onions out of the fridge a month later ~ they’re just as pretty, and as crunchy ~ as when I made them.
TIP: You can use cheap white vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or any other pale vinegar for these pickles, but I like to use my O Olive Oil Champagne Vinegar, it has a wonderful delicate flavor. I’ll re-use the pickling liquid once my onions are gone, so it won’t go to waste. I can also use the leftover pickling liquid in salad dressings.
- 1 Vidalia onion
- 1 cup mild white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp pink peppercorns
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- Peel and very thinly slice the onion. I like to use my mandoline slicer set on the 1/8 inch setting. If your rings are very large, you can slice them in half.
- Heat the vinegar, water, and spices in a saucepan until it comes to a boil. Take off the heat and add the sliced onions, giving everything a stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes, then pack the onions into a wide mouthed pint sized mason jar. Pour the liquid, including spices, over the onions. Make sure the onions are completely submerged, if you need more liquid, add a bit more vinegar. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate. Plan to use within a month or so.
Make it your own ~
- Use any type of onion you like.
- Make it spicy by adding a sliced jalapeno, or 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes.
- You can can these onions by processing them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Be sure to use sterilized jars, and be sure to use, at minimum, equal parts vinegar to water to maintain a safe pH. You can use all vinegar if you like.