1. Peel the onions by putting them into a large bowl and covering with boiling water. Leave for just 20 seconds, then drain and cover with cold water. Peel away the skins.
2. Put the onions in a non-metallic bowl and sprinkle with the salt, then add cold water to cover and let stand for 24 hours.
3. Drain the onions and rinse them in cold water then pack them into sterilised jars. Add 1 chilli and 2 peppercorns to each jar, then pour in enough vinegar to cover the onions.
4. Seal with non-metallic lids and keep for 4–6 weeks before using.
Sweet Pickled Onions
These are crisp and sharp and just slightly sweet. Try them in a corned beef sandwich or with cheese. Add 1 cup sugar for each 3 cups vinegar. Heat the sugar and the vinegar and stir to dissolve, then pour over the onions. Makes 2 litres.