Tuesday, 3 December 2013

WOYWW 235, Crochet & Pickles

Two for one this week for WOYWW.
Here's my crafty bit, the result of my crochet ideas where I've made some covers for simple boring looking retractable tape measures. I think they'll make good quick and easy to make fundraisers.

For nosey folk there are lots and lots more over at 
so get there pdq for a good old nosey!
I think I have the pongiest desk on the block this week. The house stinks, my hands stink, everywhere reeks but I don't mind in the least as I've had my annual pickle making fest and I LOVE them. Here's the evidence.

Maybe you'd like to do some for yourself, if you can get pickling onions (not shallots) they're hard to find as no one seems bothered making them these days, so I'll add my "how to do" at the bottom of this post.
Here are the stages of my labours....
anyone remember Hilda Baker and Nellie Pledge's pickling factory? "Eeeewwh, I must get a little finger on me watch"... You'd have to have seen it to know it!!!

Here's some of the results... a good stock for family and friends to share,
and very wrinkly fingers after all that peeling and water.

 Here's my way of pickling onions, taught to me by my Little Nin, my grandmother, who died aged 87 around 1970.

I used about 5lbs of pickling onions and 2 litres of Malt Vinegar which produced 15 jars of varying sizes.
The quantities may vary as smaller onions pack closely into the jars so therefore need less vinegar.

First, top and tail the onions and, as you go along, pop them into cold water to loosen the skins.
Then remove every trace of the skins and place them into brine... that's a saturated solution of salt which is made by adding as much cooking salt to water until no more will dissolve.

Place a plate on top of the onions to keep them all immersed and leave for 24 hours.

Meanwhile, put 2 litres of malt vinegar into a large stainless steel pan and 2 dessertspoons of pickling spice (dried seeds and spices which can be bought ready mixed and includes mustard seed, allspice, peppercorns, cloves, ginger, chillies). Add more or less according to how spicy you like your pickles... I love them really spicy.
Gently bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Cool and return it to the vinegar bottles along with the spice, ready for the next day.

Next day, drain off the brine then rinse the onions in plenty of cold water and drain well. Dab dry with a clean tea towel.

Sterilise the jam jars. I now sterilise mine in the microwave by adding a little hot water to each jar before placing them in the microwave and bringing the water to the boil for a minute or two. They can be sterilised the traditional way on a baking tray in a warm oven as for jam making.
Take care removing the HOT jars and when draining off the hot water. 

Pack the onions into the dry, cold, sterilised jars.

Fill with the spiced vinegar and, half to one teaspoon of the spices, to each jar. Do not fill the jars to the top but make sure the onions are completely covered. Check there are no air locks in the jars.

Cover the top of each jar with a circle of cellophane (the ones available for jam making ) or wax paper and fasten lids securely. The cellophane creates a barrier stopping the vinegar corroding the lids.
Label and store around 4 weeks before use but I must admit that I can never wait that long!

Note: The onions will be softer if you add hot water at any stage.
The onions will be softer if you add the vinegar when it is still hot.
Add extra spice to one or two jars so you can later test which you prefer for future reference.

Now you can dream of perfect cheese and pickles, ham and pickles or just a fork and a jar of pickles.


mamapez5 said...

You are an early bird today! I haven't gone to bed for the day before yet!! Very pretty crochet motifs. I am rally enjoying my crochet at the minute, and there are loads of different designs that I want to try, on the internet. I don't go for pickled onions myself. I think you either love or loathe them. But I do make lots of pickles and chutneys. Di's recipe for piccalilli is my best seller! I shan't join in the Wednesday blog hop this week as all my spare time is spent making mincepies (fourteen dozen so far), and I forgot to take a photo today, so maybe next week... Kate x

Krisha said...

Your pickled onions sound heavenly. I haven't done any canning in years, but I do remember having fingers that looked just like yours.
Krisha #41

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

ah Jo what a great idea - unfortunately have my mother's habit..
I adore these onions but cant eat them as get the coughs shockingly.. funny how you look at your mum and wonder why she is like that then you turn into her!!!

..love the cheery tops too :D
Happy WOYWW Shaz in oz.x #10

Helen said...

That is some production you have going on - both in the crochet and the pickling! Very pretty jars. Happy WOYWW Helen 37

Julia Dunnit said...

Oh look at all those pickles! I'm not a fan but we get through a lot in this house, they really mean the start of Christmas!
Love your idea for the tape covers, genius...again!
Have a smashing time in the lakes! I do admire your timing.

Annie said...

Oh Jo I can smell your pickling from here...love it. I have many very happy memories of hours of yummy pickle making in this house but for some reason I won't be doing any this year :-) thanks so much for the packing :-) big hugs,
Annie x

Donna Wheat said...

lovely desk, such a variety of stuff, haven't had pickled onions for ages, must get some for Christmas, Donna #47

Neet said...

No room for me to show until I get home tomorrow night. I forgot to take it before I left. Am in Germany at the moment! all worn out but feeling Christmassy at last.
Got the cards for the grandees of yours and posting today. Think they go out near to Christmas Eve. Am aching from head to toe but it's been worth it.
Love the crochet and you can smell the pickling from here. Hope your hands have lost the smell by Saturday. See you then.
Hugs, Neet xx

Sandy said...

Pickled onions yummy.. love the crochet will have to get onto mine its in my UFO pile..
Sandy :) #42

Neil said...

Sounds like you've been having fun. Love pickles but have to confess to never making my own. We always used to have mixed pickles at Christmas, cauliflower, carrots etc.
Hope you have a good week.

tilly said...

pickles looking great !!!!! as the family dwindled, I don't do them any more but love them!
enjoy your time away
Tilly x

ike said...

OMGoodness - you definitely must be an Annex to Pledge's Perfect Pickles LoL !!! :-D
I do hope your poor fingers recover and I'll be right over for a jar later - OK ? !! hee hee


IKE in Greece #24

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Lunch Lady Jan said...

All those pickles made me laugh...and took me back in time. I had a summer job, three years running, in a local Pickles factory in Wales. Good money but hard, back breaking work that taught me many things: how to get on with everybody in life, I could lift heavy trays as well as the boys could and that I was never going to work in factory as long as I lived!!! Not much has changed :-)
Love your crochet tape measures..that's a great idea! Thanks for setting me off down the crochet road in the first place...see what you've made me do, lol!
Hugs, LLJ 36 xx

peggy apl said...

what an interesting desk you have today, with all the pickle making! what can i say, WOYWWers are so multi-talented!
happy WOYWW!
hugs, peggy aplSEEDS @ 9

jill said...

My neighbour does pickled onions & eggs which she kindly gave a a few jars for Christmas this year . Nothing beats home made things. happy woywww Jill #40

Regina Hamilton said...

That is truly a labor of love. I sure your family and friends will be excited to receive all the homemade love you give. #4

Caro said...

Wow! That is a lot of pickles! I love the tape measure covers, but more to the point where did you find the little tape measures? Alex wants one and that size looks perfect to put in his stocking! Thanks for sharing. Happy WOYWW. Caro x (#75)

Kyla said...

Ah pickle making season...I can smell it coming!!

You certainly know your onions (sorry, couldn't resist!!). This is the first year since I was a teenager I have not made any pickles-not even pickled chillies (which I do EVERY year). May need to rectify that before Christmas!

Kyla #65

Eliza said...

They look yummie but I am allergic to vinegar so when I got to that point I stopped reading. I did like the photo of your hands, little old lady who... just an old saying in our house. Thanks for sharing, wish i could eat them.

Happy WOYWW & Happy Crafting
Eliza & Yoda 2

Alison Wade said...

Happy WOYWW. I used to love pickled onions, but they definitely make my IBS flare up now! Ali x. #46

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the earlier visit. I love this post, but have no idea what a pickling onion is. It looks like a regular white or yellow onion to me. And I've never heard of sterilizing jars on a baking rack in the oven. I've always done mine in my cooker (it has its own rack) that I use when I finish the jars once they are filled. However, I LOVE the idea of using the microwave. That's my idea of quick and easy. Thanks for that.

Nan G said...

I adore the flowery tape covers. Onions! Sorry I'm allergic. Loved the Liverpool pics below. WOYWW hugs! Nan G #13

by Gill said...

i too remember the comedy about the pickle factory, it was so funny in its time.
Hubby has made us a small jar of pickles this year too, enjoy yours

Gill xx

tilly said...

Thanks to you Jo I am now the proud owner of 7 jars of pickles.... ( I gave one away to my neighbour ) I have not done them for a couple of years with the family getting less....