When I was a child, my family and I would can so much fruit during the summer and fall, we’re still finding random jars today and wondering how old they are.
“How old are these tomatoes?”
“Um, I think the last time we canned tomatoes was in 2007?”
Somehow, this canning tradition has entrenched seasons and produce in my mind. Tomatoes start in May, cherries are late June, peaches can in August, apples boil to applesauce in October and pickles are brined throughout the fall.
That’s just when they’re put on the shelves in the barn, however. Cherries start to make appearances on the table the day they’re canned, but peaches don’t come out till January for yogurt, oatmeal or ice cream and tomatoes are used in mid-winter when there’s nothing alive at the grocery store. Pickles, for some reason, show up the following summer.
That logic in my head says “making pickles = fall” and “eating pickles = summer” so a salad combining “making” and “eating” pickles must = “fall+summer.”
Since it’s been 70 and 80 degrees in NYC for the past few weeks, a fall+summer salad is perfect.
I love the combinations of flavors and textures in this salad. I’ll admit, I was pretty skeptical of mixing pickled onions with sweet oranges, but it worked out perfectly (and my pregnant friend not only had seconds, she had thirds.) The next time you’re a little tired of that green salad with the store bought dressing – this is is the solution.
This salad is a two step process. You need to pickle the onions ahead of time, but they’ll keep in the fridge for months. I’ve never kept them longer than a week, though, because they’ve always been gone. For the pickling spice, you can use any combination you prefer. I used allspice, cloves, bay leaves, red, white and black pepper and cinnamon, but try throwing in a dried pepper or some nutmeg or a little garlic and see what happens.
Orange Salad with Pickled Red Onions
1 large red onion
3/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon of pickling spices
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large oranges
1) Bring the vinegar and spices together in a small saucepan and heat over medium until boiling. Meanwhile, peel the onion and slice it into thin rings.
2) Add the onions, and cook for thirty seconds, then remove from heat. Allow to cool, then transfer to the fridge at least overnight, or up to one month.
1) Supreme the oranges into a bowl, trying to catch as much of the juice as possible.
2) Add 1/2 cup of the pickled onions and two tablespoons of pickling juice and mix well.
3) Sprinkle on the mint.