This recipe illustrates wet brining, in which the onions are covered with a brine solution to remove their surplus water. Use ordinary table salt and spiced vinegar (above) which has more flavour than plain vinegar. Cauliflower florets can also be pickled in this way. Store for 3—4 months before using.
You will need 2kg (4lb) pickling onions, 500g (1lb) salt, 4.8litres (8pints) water and 1.2litres (2pints) cold spiced vinegar.
Put the unskinned onions in a large bowl. Dissolve 250g (8oz) salt in 2.4litres (4pints) water to make a brine and pour on top of the onions. Leave to soak for 12 hours or a little longer.
Drain the onions, then skin and cover with fresh brine, made with the remaining salt and water. Leave to soak for 24—36 hours, then drain and rinse.
Pack the onions into clean, dry wide-necked jars, to within 2.5cm (lin) of the top. Pour over the spiced vinegar and seal with vinegar-proof tops.