Dreams of Devastation Morph into … Pickled Red Onions?

I keep having dreams where I’m standing in a dried up, deserted field.

In the distance, I see the crumbling husks of hundreds and hundreds of houses, and the blackened, burnt skeletons of the once-magnificent trees that used to shade them. The cracked mud on the bottom of the creek is rock-hard, bereft of even a single drop of water.

CUTTING ONIONS: Me in kitchen cutting up onions with my pals Felix the Kitty watching the birdies outside, and Fido the Puppy watching me, with onion tears flying out of our eyes

In the fields, filthy, haggard humans scrabble in the dirt, raising great clouds of dust. Compared to these skin and bone remnants of long forgotten, better times, Scarlet O’Hara looks like a fat pampered doll.

There’s more, but it doesn’t matter — I awaken with such a heavy feeling of foreboding that I have to double my meditation and yogic exercise routine to come back to my inner peace before I start my day.

Yesterday was the fifth morning of waking up with the mangled shreds of these terrible dreams still hanging on in my inner vision.

I got mad. I yelled at them.

“What the hell?!? What do you want me to know? Is there something I should be doing? Tell me straight — stop torturing me!”

Images of gardens I’ve been blessed with in the past burst into my mind. It’s the one thing I don’t like about living where I do — there’s no spot for a garden — makes me sad. I have to resort to growing plants in pots on my tiny door stoop if I want to have anything green and growing in my life.

Strangely though, my peace came back right at the moment I was shown my last garden. 90+ varieties of thick, hearty growth, date palms, papaya trees, bonsai jade plants, flowers and veggies so green and vital, my pals the birds-nest fern and antler fern. . . .

“That’s odd,” I thought. “I wonder what’s next….”

Instantly, images of dried, canned, frozen, and pickled foods appeared.

Every year, I used to can hundreds of jars of preserves. Whole and cut up tomatoes, home-made ketchup, tomato juice, various kinds of tomato sauce. I made applesauce, pear and apricot purees. I dried cherries and prunes, made sauerkraut and different kinds of pickles; canned and dried plums and peaches….

“Oh! I get it! Is that what you want?” I asked out loud. “You want me to start preserving stuff?”

Chills raced up and down my arms and legs. In Hawaii we called that ‘chicken skin.’

The dreams just wanted to know they had been heard, and that I was on the right path.

Now I knew.

I haven’t had any of those dreams since then.

I dragged out some of the books that I’ve collected over the years about using herbs and wild plants, prepping, protection and survival, and growing and preserving foods.

Reading them again made me start hankering for something other than the dill pickles I eat every day, so I wrote out a list of the kinds of pickles I thought I’d like to try making.

I collected all the little scraps of paper I’ve been writing down recipes on for the whole time I’ve been in this house — five years this fall. I ended up with a huge pile.

As I started transferring them to 3×5 cards, I wondered why I didn’t write them on cards to begin with ….

One of the first ones was pickled red onions. I haven’t made any in so long!

So I started with that, right off, this afternoon.

Want to know how to make pickled red onions?

It’s so simple. Here ya go.



1 large onion
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 T sugar
1 T salt
sprig fresh dill
.5 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, sliced thin
1 large garlic clove, cut up small
.5 tsp whole peppercorns
.5 tsp mustard seeds


This recipe is very small — it’s for a one-pint, wide-mouth glass jar. You can increase the recipe to any size, according to the jars you have on hand.

Peel and slice the onion very thin
You can use apple cider vinegar, or half and half white and ACV, for a tangier taste, or rice vinegar for a mild effect.
Use filtered water if you can — just avoid chlorinated tap water!
I use sea salt or kosher salt — no iodine.
I use coconut sugar. You can use white, brown, or turbinado sugar. Do not use honey or maple sugar — they taste too strong. (The fermenting onion will eat the sugars.)


1. In your clean jar, place the sliced onions, jalapeño, dill, garlic, peppercorns and seeds.
2. Put sugar, salt and white vinegar into a pan. On medium heat, stir until the salt and sugar are thoroughly integrated.
(Make sure you cool the mix all the way down before using.)
3. Pour the vinegar mix over the onions until the jar is about 3/4 full.
4. Pack it all down tightly.
5. Fill the rest of the jar with water, leaving about an inch at the top.
6. Place a glass canning weight on top to hold it all down.
7. Screw on the lid and place in a dark place for 24 hours, then refrigerate.

This batch will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
I always use mine up way before then, though!

You can use them like this:

A tsp of the pickled onions in scrambled eggs; on top of your tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas; on your egg, chicken or tuna salads — very versatile.

Hope you enjoy making and eating these pickled onions!

I wonder what I will dream about tonight, now that the Dream Bosses have gotten through their message through to me!


Thanks for reading my story!

I hope you’ll try making this delicious goody — let me know how you like it, if you do make it!


Dreams of Devastation Morph into … Pickled Red Onions?
© Angela Treat Lyon 2023

Image: Cutting Onions
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© Angela Treat Lyon 2023


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