Pickled Shallots

This entry is filed under Preserves & Chutneys.

In a bit of a pickle...

In a bit of a pickle...

Every so often I get a craving for pickled shallots, preferring their crunchy sweetness over pickled onions.


A classic combo

For me, they’re best enjoyed alongside  a classic ploughman’s or with a pork pie. I stick rigidly to the formula of cutting the pie into quarters and smearing one side with a dab of Colemans English mustard and a scattering of crisp, homemade shallot slithers. It is a stunningly good combination, an old fashioned british staple that never dates, perfect for lunchtime or a late night snack.

Pickling your own shallots is well worth the effort as they taste far nicer than shop bought varieties.

No more tears...!

No more tears...!

Admittedly peeling shallots is a bit of a fag, but if you kit yourself out with a pair of onion goggles (they come in handy all year round) it’s a painless task, especially if you’ve got a chilled glass of wine on hand.
After peeling and weighing the shallots, submerge them in a cold, salty brine for at least 24 hours. This part is vital if you want your shallots crisp and crunchy and who doesn’t?

pink & pretty

pink & pretty

Run a mile from any recipe that suggests you boil the shallots first as this will turn them into a soft incarnation of their former selves so is best avoided.

The idea behind this is that boiling in hot water helps soften and remove the skins, personally I don’t think it makes any difference other than a soggy mess!


Pickled Shallot Recipe

2 large jars
Peparation Time: 30 minutes (+ 24 hour brine soak)
Effort Level:easy
shelf Life: 1 year 

1 kg shallots
1 litre 5% malt vinegar
250g soft brown sugar
50g fresh ginger
3 bay leaves
2 tsp cardamon seeds
2 tsp allspice berries
1 tsp white peppercorns
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cloves
500g table salt
1.5 litres water

Here’s What You Do:
Start by making the brine. Bring the water up to the boil and add the salt, stir until dissolved, then cool and put aside.

While it cools, start peeling the shallots, the easiest way is to top and tail them all first, then peel off their skins.

Drop the shallots into the cold brine, weigh down with a plate  so they don’t bob to the surface and leave for 24 hours.

Now make the spice vinegar so it is cold and fragrant by the time you are ready to use it.

First open the windows or turn on the extractor. Next pour the vinegar into a steel pan and place over a high heat, add all the spice ingredients and the sugar and bring up to the boil. Take the pan off the heat once the sugar’s dissolved and leave to cool.

After the shallots have been soaking for 24 hours, drain them and rinse off the salty brine then pat dry before packing into sterilised, airtight jars. Cover the shallots with the spice vinegar, making sure you divide the spices equally between the jars and store in a cool dark cupboard for at least 2 weeks, preferably 3 months before using.

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