Summer always seems to be bottling time here at the Convent and this year is no different.
One of my favourites is Onion Jam – a simple recipe but packs lots of flavour and treated as a little pot of gold, given two kilos of onions only makes four small jars. I first made this with home-grown onions as I couldn’t bear just to eat the onions after they took so long to grow. Now I make a big batch, I just buy the onions but still love the result.
Another popular standard is this spicy fresh vegetable pickle vinegar by Tom Kerridge, which makes a nice change from pickles or salad. You just place your vegetables in it 60 – 90 minutes before serving for a fresh tasty pickle. Particularly good with a barbecue, steak, pulled pork, corned beef – well, just about anything. Also a good way to use onions, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, capsicum… Well worth a try. Just keep a bottle or two in the fridge for when the mood captures you.
This year, with the Elderflowers making their presence felt in the garden, I think I’ll try some recipes. This one has caught my attention – Elderflower Champagne. This year I have two Elderflowers – the original standard and a newer variegated one that is going crazy and already has berries. I think this recipe may be a good start at experimenting with these plants.
I also have a healthy batch of Sorrel that I’ve never used so will start investigating recipes for this as well.
Onions take quite a long time to grow, I’ve found. They look architectural in the veg bed – someone described them as like giant chives. My brown onions have been disappointing – just brown stumps at the end of their stalk. However the white onions have been a delight. Big juicy round bulbs. It seemed a pity just to use them in various dishes, so I thought they deserved a longer life by making Onion Marmalade with them.
This is a simple recipe based on 2:2:1 with only four ingredients but has produced a wonderful rich caramelised jam.
1 kg sliced onions (I used white)
1 kg white sugar
500 ml white vinegar
3 tablespoons sea salt (less if you use table salt)
Combine sugar, vinegar and salt in a heavy based large pan and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Bring to the boil and add onions. Bring back to the boil.
Reduce and simmer, stirring occasionally until jam thickens and goes a rich golden caramel. This may take 3 – 5 hours.
Skim off any scum and allow to sit for 15 – 30 minutes.
Place in clean sterilised jars and seal. Store in cupboard. I made 6 small jars.