1kg small white onions
1 litre white vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 whole cloves
8 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
Fresh thyme
1 tbsp salt (in muslin bag)


Dip the onions in boiling water, cool and peel.

Place garlic and seasonings together with the vinegar and oil in a large enamel pot and bring to the boil.

Add onions and continue boiling for five minutes.

Then drain onions, reserving the vinegar and discarding the muslin bag.

Pack onions tightly in sterilised jars.

Reboil vinegar, remove from heat, let it cool and pour over the onions to cover.

Add 1 bayleaf to each jar and a layer of oil.

Seal and keep for 2 to 3 weeks before using.

Onions preserved in this method will last up to 1 year when stored in a cool dark place (like a larder). Once opened, they should be stored in the fridge and eaten within 6 months.

The Story Behind The Recipe

This pickle recipe has travelled the world. Originally hailing from eastern Europe, they are perennial favourites among Ashkenazi Jewish families in the diaspora. This recipes is from a 1950’s collection from a South African Jewish community - but they are still being made and enjoyed today. Their methods of capturing the goodness of fresh vegetables to be preserved and enjoyed for months to come are coming back into favour. And the health benefits of pickles are also now being celebrated. Read more about the humble pickle in this week’s latest instalment of Larder Love, Happy Pickling!