Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
What would you do with twenty pounds of onions? On my shopping trip last month I bought sweet onions buy one five pound bag for $4 get one bag free because that was a very good price. I can’t remember the last time I saw sweet onions at 40 cents a pound. I wish I’d bought a couple more bags. I prefer the sweet onions and we very rarely get even one sweet onion from the food bank. The next day was mobile food bank day and I got about ten pounds of boiler onions. Each person was given a bag of a little over 3 pounds. I traded the processed foods I got for the onions a couple of other people got.
Hmm…. just what could I do with all those onions? I dehydrated the sweet onions. That left me wondering what to do with the 10 pounds of boiler onions. At first I thought I might can a few jars of onion soup. I didn’t have any beef stock or soup base so I decided to use the boiler onions for pickled onions. Usually pickled onions are made with pearl onions for their tiny size but these will work too. Boiler onions are small, about the size of a golf ball, with tough skins making them difficult to peel.
Start by cutting off both ends and making a shallow cut (one layer deep) on the side. Drop them into a pot of boiling water for about 15 seconds.
Drop into cold water to stop the cooking process. This is the same process for peeling tomatoes quickly.
Peeling is now very easy. Especially because of the cut on the side.
As each one was peeled I dropped it into more cold water to rinse away any stray bits of peel. I loosely packed the jars with the onions. Some were cut in half to get more into the jars. Cover with pickling juice and into the canner.
Canning the onions is ok with water bath canning because it’s pickling. Without the pickling brine I would have to do pressure canning. My small canner holds 8 pint jars so one jar is put in the canner empty as a place holder. I set aside some of the onions and baked them for dinner.
Water bath processed for 10 minutes then removed to set and cool completely before putting away.
The recipe I used for the pickle juice is one I found in an old cookbook:
Put everything into a pot and heat until the sugar melts and it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring over onions. I had some juice left over so instead of just throwing it out I made pickled eggs. No cooking necessary except to boil the eggs. Put them in a jar, cover with the brine, put into the refrigerator.
Both the onion and egg recipes recommend leaving them to set for two weeks before opening to get the best flavor. The egg shells were set aside to dry. I’ll save them just in case there is a miracle happen that gets me a garden. So that’s what I did with 20 pounds of onions. If I get more I may make onion jam or maybe onion relish.
Ok, along with those onions I got a cloth reusable grocery bag full of small sized sweet potatoes. No photos but I’m guessing it was about 15 pounds. I managed to can 30 pints to eat when the supplies are gone. I still need to wash most of the jars before I can write the date on the tops.
I may not have a backyard garden but I can still preserve food as if I did. I may not have the money to buy from a farmer’s market but who can tell by simply looking at the jars?