Alyssa’s Mexican-Style Pickled Onions
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One of my favorite ways to spend a day is preserving.  It starts with a trip to the market to buy boatloads of produce and ends with satisfying “pops” coming from rows of shiny, warm Ball jars.  Actually, it ends months later when you can pull a jar out of the cupboard and spread your own jam on a piece of toast or put your own pickles on a sandwich. 



Unfortunately, produce is really expensive in Japan!  A lot of it is imported, which is not wallet-friendly.  My days of buying crates of strawberries and cucumbers from the farmer’s market are on hold for now, but I can still justify making small batches of quick pickles.  They’re cheaper and don’t require nearly the same time commitment (as you could probably tell from “quick” in the name).  No water baths, steamy kitchens and frizzy hair. You don’t need to heat the brine in many recipes, and you don’t even need to store the pickles in canning jars.  You can use Ziploc bags, Tupperware containers, bowls tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, etc.


My latest pickle adventure was Mexican-style pickled onions.  They add such balance to tacos when used to cut the richness of braised meats and creamy cheeses. They also add a gorgeous pop of pink to your dish (but I understand if you are not as delighted by this as I am).  I combed through a dozen or so recipes online, took the elements that I liked from each, and came up with this recipe.  The final product is citrusy, garlicky, acidic, salty and bracing.  
Plan on using them within a few days of making the pickles.  They start to lose their identity as onions and just taste like vinegar somewhere around day 4.  Which is not terrible for a pickle, but they’re certainly less subtle at that point!  I originally made them to be served with an assemble-your-own-taco bar, and then had leftovers on huevos rancheros the next day.   Yum!  Here are some other delicious ways to use these pickles:
Pickled Onion Recipe
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ c lime juice
1/3 c orange juice
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, smashed
½ tablespoon dried oregano
5 peppercorns
1 small bay leaf
Mix all of the ingredients except the onion in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar and salt dissolve. 
Add onions and let sit for at least an hour before serving.
Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.  The onions taste best if eaten within 3 days of making.

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