A Very Merry homemade Christmas.

A homemade Christmas. Sounds like a challenge. But why, why would we do this? Well for us getting by month to month isn’t a secret. We live within our means and have a few treats, but with all the fuss over this time of year we wanted to keep it traditional, not get in debt for the rest of the year and really just have fun doing it! Homemade Christmas seemed perfect for Parker’s at his age as well, he loves helping out and getting creative. It seemed like an easy choice. It just took time. Of course we’ll buy a few presents, but we just really wanted to keep the spirit of Christmas, the giving, the love that goes into creating something special that you’ve created yourself.

So Part one. What was first? Pickled onions. Funny enough I love pickled things. Pickled gerkins, pickled eggs, pickle in general! So this year I decided to steal mums good old pickled onion recipe. The perfect pressie for Christmas, all sealed in a little jar. To accompany the good old cheddar, the wensleydale and cranberry, the brie. The lacto free or dairy free alternatives that I’ll be enjoying! Perfect for cosy evenings between Christmas and new year. So after sharing on Instagram that I was going piccalilli over homemade onions, so many of you wanted to know how?

So here it is Momma Diane’s homemade pickled onion recipie! (It’s originated from an very old recipie book that I don’t know the name of) but mums adjusted it, made it her own and makes them every year, and they’re so good…So here’s the secret!

What you’ll need.

5 x 500ml clip seal top jars (we found ours in the range for just £1.50 each)

2 x 750g bags of pickling onions (we found good ones at Sainsbury’s)

3 pints of vinegar, malt vinegar is fine!

1 teaspoon of black pepper corns.

1 heaped teaspoon of ground mixed spice.

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

8-10 cloves.

450g soft brown sugar.

And that’s it!

So what do you do?

Firstly wash and sterilise the jars in hot soapy water and leave to dry.

Pop the onions in a bowl (skins on) then pour boiling water over them and wait for the water to cool. Once cooled, peel and chop the ends off the onions, (and try not to cry too much!) Put them in a bowl of fresh cold water and mix in the salt. Leave over night or up to 24 hours.

Once the onions have soaked over night, you can start making the all important pickling vinegar. Pop the rest of the remaining ingredients into a pan and cook on a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved and it starts to boil. Turn off the heat. Then leave to cool with the lid on the pan. Easy right? But a warning your house may start to smell a lot like Christmas, or pickle!

When the pickling vinegar has cooled place the onions in their jars and using a Muslin cloth placed in a sieve, pour the pickling vinegar over carefully, to cover the onions.

Then pop the clasp shut, leave for 6-8 weeks and let the magic happen!

I am aware this blog is going up a little later than I had hoped but I’m sure they’ll be just as lovely at 5-6 weeks, they just might not be as strong! So if you’re giving the gift of home made pickled onions this Christmas make sure you pop a little note on, suggesting they stay sealed for the new year! Then once opened ideally refrigerate and eat within 6 months, although they won’t last that long in this house!

Have you tried pickling before? How did you find it? Or if you follow this recipe let me know how it goes!

So there’s part one of a Very Merry homemade Christmas! Make sure you stay up to date as I’ll be popping a few more different ideas up over the next few weeks. Happy pickling dears!

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