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I'm making mustard pickles and it calls for pearl onions. Can I use white onions chopped up?

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Note: originally posted as an answer here by Dianne Jensen –  Jefromi Aug 27 '13 at 18:45

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I have seen recipes that call for chopped white onions instead of pearl onions, which leads me to believe it is feasible.

The texture might be different; when cooked, pearl onions tend to have a different sort of bite to them, much like a grape, revealing a burst of flavor after a slight resistance, whereas chopped fullsize onions tend to be more one-note and soft. I don't know for sure what pickling does to the texture, but if it is beneficial to use whole onions for a similar effect, you'll lose that. I suspect the flavor penetration would be greater, however, due to the cutting.

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