I was recently looking for a recipe to pickle onions, and among several others I found this one. Skimming through the comments I came across the same question as I'm asking now, but without any other answer than the musings of the author of the recipe:
Pouring water over the onions is something I've always done without quite knowing why. A quick internet research shows that most picked onion recipes call for this, but without explanation.
Hot water is often pour over onions (that aren't going to be pickled or cooked) in order to tame their sharpness and soften them a little. But a pickling brine is so intense and sharp itself, perhaps it isn't necessary.
So I started wondering myself whether or not the latter part of the quote is true; is it necessary to blanch the onions before pickling them, as the pickling solution is so sharp in taste anyway?
The recipe in question mixes:
- 1 medium red onion, about 5 ounces
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
And then let it all rest in a jar for 30 min-2hrs before it is ready. It is supposed to keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. The blanching of the onions happens before it is all put in the jar.