I wasn’t keeping count until a croquet-ball-sized one landed on my little toe this morning when I opened the pantry door, but as of a couple hours ago, we had way too many onions on hand.

And then I made this sweet onion marmalade.

And now Sheila’s asking me to swap for more onions next week.

Sweet Onion Marmalade

I borrowed in equal parts from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook and Hugh Acheson’s Pick a Pickle for this one. Super-concentrated flavor, with just the right amount of sweet, it’s beautiful with creamy cheeses (I schmeared a bagel) or atop scrambled eggs. I bet it’ll make fast friends with a brisket next week, too.

Basket of Onions
Three giant onions (11 inchers, I’d guess) yielded three 8-ounce jars of jam.
  • 3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced (4 heaping cups)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp demerara sugar (brown sugar will do just fine, too)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup filtered water, divided
  • salt and pepper
onion marmalade
Soft and silky and savory and sweet.

In a wide, high-walled skillet (mine’s 11 inches) or saucepan, heat the oil (medium-high) until rippling. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for another 5 minutes until they’re soft and starting to brown.

Reduce heat further to low; cover, and cook another 15 minutes.

Add the sugar, vinegars, and thyme leaves. Cook another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally—here’s where the real browning kicks in.

Add a half-cup of the water, and bring the heat back up to medium. Cook another 15 minutes or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the rest of the water. After the final 15 minutes, you should have a gooey, spreadable, caramel-colored tangle. Taste it. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper to your taste.

Pack into sterilized jars and process in a hot-water canning bath for 15 minutes—or just cover, cool, and refrigerate.

Where does it go? On a cheese board aside brie or a fresh chèvre. Or on a bagel. Or spooned over scrambled eggs. Or spread on a brisket or roast pork or turkey sandwich. You’ll figure it out.







2 Comments Add yours

  1. AnnieRie says:

    This looks like a very good way to use up onions. I am thinking that the next time I crockpot a mess of caramelized onions overnight, that I pull some out in the morning and use them to make this spread. Starting at the point of adding the seasoning and water.

    It looks like LFFC gave you lots of onions. This was our winter of carrots. We are ODing on white and yellow carrots.

    1. Susan says:

      Thanks for reading, Annie. We’ve been on the carrot train this winter, too, though we’ve been using them up (mostly just roasted and tossed in daily salads with the also-plentiful beets). I think we’ve had 3-5 biggish onions in each of the past 6 weeks. I canned two jars of this spread (I made sure to keep the acid levels on the high side), thinking that I’d tuck them away for summer grilling, but I bet we’ll bust into them before Spring is over.

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