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Pickled Pearl Onions

An avid gardener, Marcia Kiesel loves mini vegetables and often pickles gherkins and pearl onions as gifts. Her lemon-and-clove-spiked onions are crunchier and less sweet than commercial brands. Perfect for martinis, they can also be sliced and tossed in a salad, stir-fried or tucked inside sandwiches.


slideshow  More Pickled Vegetables


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4 1/2 pint jars

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  • 11/4 pounds pearl onions, trimmed
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • Eight 1/2-inch-wide strips of lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the onions over high heat for 4 minutes. Drain and let cool. When the onions are cool enough to handle, slip off their skins.
  2. Pack the onions into four 1/2-pint jars. Add 2 cloves, 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds and 2 strips of lemon zest to each jar.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the brine over the onions to cover. Let cool, then seal the jars and refrigerate the onions for at least 3 weeks.

Make Ahead

The pickled onions can be refrigerated for up to 1 year.

Contributed By Photo © Tina Rupp Published December 2007

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