Black Pepper Onions


Black Pepper Onions

Servings 1 quart
Author Tess Keesling


  • Kitchen scale
  • 1-quart wide mouth mason jar
  • Weight
  • Fermentation lid


  • 900 grams sliced onions
  • 20 grams coarse unrefined sea salt
  • 15 grams whole black peppercorns
  • 50 milliliters natural brine from a basic kraut, this can be from a store bought kraut or one you’ve maybe already made


  • Wash and sanitize all your fermentation equipment, including a medium bowl, knife, and cutting board, and set aside to air dry.
  • In the medium bowl, combine the onions, salt, peppercorns, and kraut brine. With clean (or gloved) hands, massage, squeeze, and mix the onions until they begin to release liquid, about 2 minutes. When you can grab a handful of onions and squeeze the liquid out of it easily, it’s ready to go.
  • Transfer the onions to the jar along with any liquid. As you add the onions tamp them down with your fist to submerge the solids under the brine and force out any air pockets. Continue until the jar is almost full, leaving 1 to 2 inches of headspace.
  • Place the weight in the jar on top of the onions and press down until the onions are completely submerged in brine. Seal the jar with the fermentation lid. Place the sealed jar in a bowl to catch any liquid displaced through the airlock during fermentation.
  • Ferment the onions in a cool place away from direct sunlight (3 weeks at 64°F is ideal). Taste the onions after 2 weeks to determine if the flavor and sourness are to your liking. If they’re not sour enough, reseal the jar and let them ferment for another week, then taste again. When the onions taste good, replace the fermentation lid with a regular lid, seal, and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 months.
Portrait of Tess

Tess Keesling (they/she)

Tess is a queer creative making plant-based art and educational material under the pseudonym Sprigwizard. Raised at a competitive dance studio in a food swamp north of Detroit, MI – Tess now resides in Seattle, WA where she is perfecting her chocolate chip cookie recipe, making comics, and learning about plants.

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Check out Tess's piece: "making room for the unexpected"