Fermented Red Onion
As a ‘real foodie’, I have this idea that I should therefore like all real foods. I have a confession to make; I don’t like raw onions. Cooked onions are wonderful. In the winter, I go through kilos of onions in soups and stir fries. Caramelized onions, yummm. But raw? Nope. Only if they’ve been marinated for a very long time.
My oldest daughter, on the other hand, loves raw onions. She will voluntarily ask for raw onions on buttered (sourdough) bread, a very Slovak thing to eat. I gladly prepare it for her, because onions are healthy and all that. “Yumm, Mom, this is SO good! Have a bite.” Er…no thanks dear, I’ll let you enjoy it.
But then I came across the idea of Lactofermented Red Onions over at Delicious Obsessions and thought I’d try it.
It’s actually quite good. The onions become slightly sweet but are still crunchy and loose whatever it is I don’t like about raw onions. When I open the jar, however, they still smell exactly like freshly cut onions, so every time I go to use some I cringe.
Basically I thinly sliced onions (bawling my eyes out), poured a bit of 2% brine over and massaged it for a bit till the onion softened, then packed it in a jar and poured over 2% salt water, making sure all the onion was below the liquid, and put on the lid. I let mine sit for about two weeks before I was satisfied with the taste and put it in the fridge.
They would be perfect in salads, spreads, on buttered bread. Just another way to get those lactofermented food benefits in everything!
UPDATE: I made these without brine and it’s even easier. Weigh your onions (this is so so much easier in metric). Thinly slice. Weigh salt (with no flow additives added) equalling to 2% of the weight of the onions. So, for example, say you have 500g of onion, you would use 10g of salt (approx 2 teaspoons of finely ground salt). Sprinkle salt on onions, let is sit a bit if you want (draws out moisture), and then knead it with your hands until it releases juice. Stuff into a jar, pressing down on the onions so that they are covered by the brine. Let sit two or more weeks.
If you want more precise instructions for making salt water to pour over the onions, head on over to Delicious Obsessions.
This is part of my Probiotics and Fermenting series, which you can find more of here.
Shared at AIP Paleo Recipe Roundtable, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fat Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesday
Oct 16, 2014 @ 04:18:38
These are beautiful photographs. Fermented onions are one of my favorite ferments. Also onions are wet enough you can use just dry salt (not brined in water) and the onions will create enough brine to ferment. It gives a richer flavored brine that way.
Oct 16, 2014 @ 09:11:47
Thanks! I had fun photographing them. Thanks for the tip about onions being wet enough, I kind of thought so but wasn’t sure. I’ll make it again and update 🙂
Oct 16, 2014 @ 10:12:54
Your fermenting book looks fabulous!
Oct 11, 2018 @ 01:28:53
How much salt for dry brine?
Oct 24, 2018 @ 14:00:59
I use 2% salt compared to the weight of the onions.
Nov 02, 2014 @ 02:00:44
[…] Fermented Red Onion from Almost Bananas. Very interesting application of culturing and useful too! Gorgeous photos! […]
Grain-free Spice Cookies - autoimmune paleo, dairy & egg-free - Whole New Mom
Dec 23, 2014 @ 16:43:38
[…] savoury AIP dishes, try Strapacky (baked sweet potato, bacon, and sauerkraut), Fermented Red Onions, or, for the adventurous, Beef Tongue Spread and Sweet Beef Heart Curry (not your regular […]
Nov 04, 2015 @ 07:50:51
Naomi can you send the Recipe for Fermented Red Onion .
Nov 13, 2015 @ 12:47:40
Hi Christian, I updated the post with more precise instructions on making fermented red onion, so check that out and if it makes more sense.
Nov 09, 2016 @ 02:57:50
Do you close the jar loosely or tight and then burp constantly?
Nov 09, 2016 @ 10:22:03
Usually tight and burp.
Sep 24, 2018 @ 15:17:47
I cannot wait to try this and the fermented cauliflower. With cauliflower you used a cabbage leaf to keep it covered with brine, what can I use with onions? I am using a simple glass jar.
Oct 24, 2018 @ 13:57:20
I just pack the onion down as hard as I can and make sure the brine covers it. Ideal would be a weight, but I don’t have an appropriate one so I just make do.
Oct 24, 2018 @ 17:08:28
Hi Naomi, and thanks for your reply. I couldn’t wait and made two batches of cauliflower, which turned out perfect, and a batch of red onions. I just used salt and onions and did not add any extra brine. I packed them as much as I could and pressed them down several times but the juice they gave was not enough to keep them covered. So I think next time I will add a little bit of brine. Meanwhile, I wonder if this batch is safe to eat, as it developed a white film on top. It does not smell foul, when I open the jar it smells exactly like fresh yeast. Have you ever had this problem? I don’t have that much experience with fermentation; I have been making kimchi for a while but this is the first time I am trying something else. I am tempted to remove the top layer and taste it but not sure if it is safe.
Oct 24, 2018 @ 19:24:31
I’m glad you didn’t wait! I personally prefer onions in a brine rather than just a dry salting. Maybe because I’m not a big fan of raw onions in the first place.
The white film is called kahm yeast, and develops because it was exposed to too much air, usually. It is harmless, though it does have a yeasty taste. It is still safe to eat. You can blot it off it you like. The more you ferment, the more you learn! Good job 🙂