Virginia Willis shows us Quick Pickles 101 and makes Sweet Onions with a Master Vinegar Brine, as seen on her Course Canning, Pickling and Preserving with Virginia Willis on Food Network Kitchen.
Recipe courtesy of Virginia Willis

Sweet Onions in Salt Brine

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  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 2 quarts
Lacto-fermentation is a technique that produces traditional dill pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut. The simple fermentation process requires nothing more than salt and water.



Special equipment:
2 sterilized quart glass jars with a tight lid
  1. Combine 4 cups water and the salt in a medium bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt. Pack the sliced onion and jalapeño if using into 2 sterilized quart glass jars with tight lids. Pour over the brine, leaving 1 inch of headroom between the top of the liquid and the top of the jars. If necessary, weigh the onions down under the brine to keep them submerged (see Cook's Note).
  2. Cover the jars with pieces of parchment paper or cheesecloth and seal lightly with a canning ring or a rubber band. Ferment at room temperature (60 to 70 degrees F is preferred) for at least 4 days and up to 2 weeks. The longer the ferment, the more flavorful the product. Taste it to see how you like it! Make sure to place in a shallow plate or bowl to catch any juices and if using a tight lid, “burp” the ferment daily to release excess pressure. 
  3. Once the onions are finished, put a tight lid on the jars and move to the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Cook’s Note

Canning jars are very affordable vessels for fermenting. They can easily be found at grocery and hardware stores. When fermenting it is important to keep the vegetables submerged. Ceramic and glass fermentation weights are available, or you can do something as simple as use a ceramic ramekin or a plate. When preparing any recipe that requires fermentation, it's important to use the freshest produce possible and to properly follow all instructions to avoid any risk of food safety.