How to Make a Fermented Onion Relish (Perfect for Salads, Sandwiches, and More)
We went to a wonderful Farmer's Market in a local nearby town a couple of weeks ago. One of the garden stands had these beautiful, fresh, juicy white onions! I couldn't resist. I admit: I bought too many for just Mr. V. and myself. Once again, I solved the "too many veggies" issue with fermentation! I created an onion relish with a Mediterranean flair, then fermented it for the extra nourishment. If you are ever wondering what to do with too many onions, I've got you covered!
When you ferment vegetables, you not only preserve them for sometimes quite a long period of time, but you also reap the health benefits of the living cultures (probiotics) in the ferment! Not only that--but you can make some very tasty things to eat this way! This recipe for onion relish is just delicious and will last a long time in the refrigerator--except it's so good, this savory condiment will be gone sooner than we think!
You can learn more about fermentation in these articles: What is Fermentation and Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods Every Day and Fermentation Myths & FAQ's.
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Here's How to Make Crazy Delicious Fermented Onion Relish
You're going to love this condiment! It's super easy. It's inexpensive! This relish is SUPER healthy, being filled with nature's probiotics, and it's delicious! You can use in all kinds of ways, and I'll go over some of the choices in a second. But first: The Onion Relish Recipe.
Ingredients for Onion Relish
***Six medium sized fresh onions
I used white onions, but you could certainly use the red ones too. Red onions have a little more nutritive value than white onions, and both are great for your immune system!
You'll want to slice these thinly and put them in a bowl.
***Two or three red bell peppers
This will provide a nice balanced sweet flavor to the tangy onion taste. I also added a Jalapeno pepper too, because I like the heat. The red color looks lovely in this ferment!
***Red pepper flakes to taste
For added spiciness or if you don't like the heat of the jalapeno pepper.
***1/2 to 1 teaspoon organic ground cumin
Cumin will give it that mediterranean flair.
***1/2 to 1 teaspoon organic turmeric (optional)
I'm on a turmeric kick right now. First off, I love the taste of it. Second, the health benefits of turmeric can't be beat. If I feel like I can add it to something, I will. Turmeric added to this relish did not disappoint! Plus, it turns the relish a lovely yellowish color. This, with the red of the peppers, is really pretty.
***1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon Sea Salt or other mineral rich salt
You don't want to use iodized salt, ever, in your ferments. You can use any kind of natural unprocessed salt you like. Sea salt is a good and common choice for fermenting foods.
***1 tablespoon brine from a previous raw ferment, like raw sauerkraut OR whey (optional---see notes)
This is your starter culture, and it will help speed up your fermentation. If you don't have either of these, it's ok. Just opt for the full 1 1/2 tablespoon of salt because it will help stop any mold growth.
If you are curious about whey, you can find out what it is and how to make it in this article: How to Make Whey.
Whey is a high protein addition that many people in Europe drink daily!
NOTE: The links above are for Amazon. However, you might also want to take a look at Starwest Botanicals for your culinary and medicinal herb and spice needs. They have all kinds of options and the quantity discount is really good. I purchase from them all the time, and am super happy with this company!
Directions for Fermented Onion Relish
Step 1) Slice your onions into rings (crosswise) and add them to a good sized bowl.
Step 2) Add your peppers, salt and spices. Pound the salt into the onions rather gently. You can use a pounder for this, your hands, or even a large fork. What this does is release the juices from the onions, creating a brine.
Step 3) Now add this mixture to a quart sized Mason jar. Your vegetable matter will have reduced with with the addition of the salt. Pack it in really well.
Step 4) Add the starter culture if you are using it and water to top it off just over the top of the onions.
Step 5) Add a weight to hold the relish below the surface of the liquid. Any vegetables left above the surface may mold, and you don't want that!
You can use anything for a weight, as long as it fits into the Mason jar and holds down the vegetables. Although you can purchase great weights from Amazon that are meant for Mason jars, you can also just use a ziplock plastic bag filled with water to hold everything under if you don't have weights.
Step 6) Put a lid or an airlock on your Mason jar.
For this step, if you don't have an airlock that's ok. You can just use a regular Mason jar lid. You'll have to "burp" the jar every day to be sure the gases emitted from the fermentation process don't build up in the jar.
Or--you can buy an inexpensive airlock system meant for Mason jars. I love these because you can just put them on and forget about it. The airlock takes care of releasing the pent up gases while not allowing oxygen in.
Step 7) After about a week, your relish should be ready! If you're in a colder area, it may take a little longer, and conversely, if you are in a warm place, it may go faster.
I like to start "taste-testing" my ferments when I think they might be getting ready. When the taste is where I like it, then it's all ready! At this point:
Step 8) Remove the airlock, if using, and the weight. Put a lid on the relish and refrigerate. Use as you like! It will last at least six months in the refrigerator.
Step 9) Enjoy!
Ways to Use Fermented Onion Relish
One way to use it is just to eat it plain. It's truly yummy! Another way I've used it is as a garnish next to meat. It adds color and flavor! The taste is savory and strong enough it works well with meat dishes.
I've also used it in chicken salad. Just mix it in with your other ingredients. It adds a good tangy spicy flavor. This is excellent for a special sandwich!
You can also try it in your stronger tasting salads. I love it with Arugula or other strong tasting greens.
Do you like eggs? This relish is excellent as an accompaniment with your eggs in the morning! If you're on the Whole30 plan or going paleo--it's a wonderful way to use this relish.
Final Thoughts on Fermented Onion Relish
The more things I ferment, the more I realize how much more there is to ferment! My recipe was adapted from a recipe I found in this book I purchased on Amazon, Fermented Vegetables, by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. It's a great book! I have so many fermentation books, so I hesitated to buy another one, but this one was worth the purchase!
If you end up with too many onions at some point, I hope you'll give this onion relish recipe a try! I think you'll love it as much as I do! :-)
You might also enjoy these similar articles:
- Ferment That Baby Zucchini
- How to Make a Fermented Berry Soda
- Fermentation Myths & FAQ's
- How to Make Delicious Fermented Ketchup
And there's a TON more on the blog! :-)
Do you ferment your extra produce? I'd love to hear your experiences! If you have any questions, please ask in the comments. Of course, I'll answer emails, but if you leave a comment, others benefit from your question too!
Hugs, Health, and Self-Reliance,
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