Spicy Pickled Shallots Recipe with Cider Vinegar

spicy pickled shallots recipe with cider vinegar pearl mariposa jars

This won­der­ful­ly sharp and spicy pick­led shal­lots recipe is a lit­tle more exot­ic than tra­di­tion­al British pick­led onions and oh so good…

These pick­led shal­lots are by far my favourite pick­led any­thing. They are made with a lit­tle less sug­ar than most pick­led onion or shal­lots and so are a good deal sharp­er. The spice mix, which includes mace blades and all­spice berries, is to die for. Chili pep­pers adds a won­der­ful extra kick. For­tu­nate­ly our spicy pick­led shal­lots recipe with cider vine­gar is pret­ty easy to pre­pare, the only prob­lem is you can nev­er seem to make enough…

Pickled Shallots Ingredients

spicy pickled shallots recipe with cider vinegar spice mix

Small shal­lots suit­able for pick­ling can be sourced all year round. It is, how­ev­er, much cheap­er to buy 4kg bags of round pick­ling shal­lots in sea­son. They usu­al­ly appear on mar­ket stalls and green­gro­cers towards the end of Sep­tem­ber and are avail­able until just after Christmas.

Makes five 1 litre jars.

  • 4kg bag pick­ling shallots.

  • 250g fine sea salt. Avoid using table salt as it can cause discoloration.

  • 2.5 litres cider vine­gar. If using vine­gar you have brewed your­self ensure it is at least 0.5% acidity.

  • 500g gran­u­lat­ed sugar.

  • 80g gin­ger root.

  • 2 tbsp yel­low mus­tard seed.

  • 2 tbsp all­spice berries

  • 1 tbsp black pep­per corns.

  • 6 blades of mace.

  • 2 large cin­na­mon sticks.

  • 6 dried chilies (option­al).

  • 8 bay leaves.

Pickled Shallots Method

This pick­led shal­lots recipe is made over two days. On the first day the vine­gar is infused with spices and the shal­lots are peeled and salt­ed. Hav­ing been left overnight the final prepa­ra­tion is com­plet­ed on day two.

Preparing the Spiced Vinegar

  1. Pour the vine­gar in a sauce pan and gen­tly heat while adding the sug­ar. Stir until the sug­ar is dissolved.

  2. Give the gin­ger a quick bash with a rolling pin. Add the gin­ger and all the spices except the bay leaves to the vine­gar and very slow­ly bring to a sim­mer with the lid on. At this point turn off the heat and allow the spices to infuse into the vine­gar overnight.

  3. The fol­low­ing day fil­ter the vine­gar through muslin or cheese cloth.

Peeling the Shallots.

Top­ping, tail­ing and then heat­ing the shal­lots in boil­ing water will help loosen their skins and make them much eas­i­er to peel. Skin­ning four kilo­grams of shal­lots can take some time.

  1. Use sharp scis­sors or a sharp knife to top and tail the shal­lots, don’t be too shy in how much you remove but don’t take off so much the shal­lots loose their integrity.

  2. Select a stock pot large enough to con­tain all your shal­lots. Fill 34 with water and place on your hob. When it comes to the boil care­ful­ly trans­fer to your sink. Tip in the shal­lots and start a timer. At the end of 20 sec­onds rapid­ly douse the stock pot with cold water from the tap, allow­ing it to over­flow until the remain­ing water is cold.

  3. Strain the shal­lots and begin peel­ing them right away. Dis­card any bad shal­lots or cut away bruised or dam­aged areas. The shal­lots may sim­ply pop out of the out­er lay­ers when squeezed hard. Try to remove all the thin mem­branes that are found between each lay­er as it will make the vine­gar go cloudy in the jars.

Brining the Shallots with Salt

spicy pickled shallots recipe with cider vinegar saltinmg the shallots
  1. Lay the peeled shal­lots out on a large plas­tic or stain­less steel tray and sprin­kle over the salt. Cov­er with a tea tow­el and leave overnight or for up to 12 hours but no longer.

  2. Rinse the shal­lots in a colan­der to remove the salty brine. Cut off any areas of shal­lots that were dis­coloured dur­ing the brin­ing and remove any remain­ing mem­branes. Allow to drain.

Preparing and Filling the Jars

You will need 5 x 1 litre jars or a com­bi­na­tion of jars adding up to 5 litres. Any jar with a tight fit­ting seal will do the job. For this pick­led shal­lots in cider vine­gar recipeI’m using the won­der­ful Mari­posa pre­serve jars from Pearl which fea­ture a glass lid, unique wire clo­sure and reusable seals.

  1. Ensure that your jars and lids are well sani­tised. Jars can be placed in a cold oven and brought to 130oC for 20 min­utes. Lids and seals can be boiled in water for 20 min­utes. Allow the jars to cool in the oven until they can be safe­ly han­dled but are still warm. Bear in mind that pour­ing hot vine­gar into cold jars may crack them.

  2. While wait­ing for the jars to san­ti­tise get the spiced vine­gar back on a the hob and hold at a sim­mer with the lid on.

  3. Fill the jars with onions, pack them tight­ly leav­ing around 2cm of head space at the top of the jars. As you fill place two bay leaves in each jar.

  4. Using a jar fun­nel ladle the hot vine­gar into the jars, clean­ing the rim and then seal­ing each one as you go along.

Storing and Eating Your Pickled Shallots

spicy pickled shallots recipe with cider vinegar pearl mariposa jars

These pick­led shal­lots need a month or so before they are ready to eat. They will store well for over a year in a cool shady place. Once open keep your pick­led shal­lots in the refrig­er­a­tor and, in the unlike­ly event they last that long, con­sume with­in a fortnight.

spicy pickled shallots recipe with cider vinegar pearl mariposa jars

Amer­i­cans may well ask if it is safe to store pick­led shal­lots this way with­out can­ning the jars first. One of the most impor­tant fea­tures of a good pick­led shal­lot is the crunch. No one wants a soft onion and unfor­tu­nate­ly can­ning is incom­pat­i­ble with main­tain­ing the desired tex­ture. We’ve been doing it like this in the UK for gen­er­a­tions, for­tu­nate­ly pick­ling this way in a near 100% vine­gar brine is very safe.

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