I’ve been making this sweet and spicy onion marmalade off and on for years, ever since seeing the original version in Jan Roberts-Dominguez’s food preservation column in The Oregonian newspaper years ago when I first started canning. I love sweet onions and was looking for a way to preserve them through the winter. This sweet and spicy onion marmalade goes way beyond that, though, adding flavor to meats, seafood, and appetizers. I used to think of this as an addictive condiment until I started making Addictive Tomato Chutney, a-hem, but this runs a close second. Maybe I should call it “slightly addictive onion marmalade?”
Well, whatever I call it, it’s really just plain good. I’ve adapted it through the years to use honey instead of white sugar (and a lot less of it) and lots more red pepper flakes for added spice, though of course you can adjust that if you don’t like things as spicy as we do. This is only slightly spicy with the one teaspoon of red pepper flakes, though – not too spicy at all for most people who’ve had it.
Even though it’s a canning recipe, you don’t actually have to can it – it will keep a couple months in the refrigerator. Although it’s really easy to can, too – its just a matter of a few simple steps:
- prepping ingredients and adding them to a pot
- boiling and adding the honey/sugar
- boiling again for a minute
- ladling marmalade into hot, prepared canning jars
- sealing and adding them to a boiling water canner
- boiling for 10 minutes
- removing from canner and cooling
So in less than an hour, you can have six small jars of delicious sweet and spicy onion marmalade lining your pantry shelves – or to give away as special gifts.
This marmalade makes a wonderful glaze for meats and seafood, and is particularly good on a roasted ham. But one of my favorite was to serve this is as a simple appetizer on top of cream cheese or a flavored Boursin cheese. It’s really good. And I love serving different things on a platter for guests than what you can find in stores – it sorta personalizes it and helps it seem more special. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Note: if you need more info on how to can, you can read Boiling Water Canning Steps here.
- 2 lbs. onions, preferably sweet or a mix of sweet and regular
- 1 c. apple juice
- ½ c. cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. fresh, minced garlic
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. ground mustard
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 Tb. Low or No Sugar Needed pectin - flex batch (equals 1 box)
- ½ tsp. butter or oil (optional to reduce foaming, but I always use it)
- 1 c. honey
- ½ c. brown sugar
- Prepare waterbath canner, 6½-pint jars & lids, keeping warm until needed.
- Cut ends off onions and peel; slice in half and cut each in half again, lengthwise (or in thirds if onions are big). Turn halves and cut into ¼" slices widthwise (as pictured above). Place slices in an 8-qt. measuring cup - you should have 6 cups of onion slices.
- Add prepared onions, apple juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard and red pepper flakes to an 8-qt. stockpot. Gradually stir in pectin and then add butter if using. Bring to a boil that can't be stirred down over high heat, stirring constantly.
- Add honey and sugar; return to a full boil and let boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat (skim foam if needed).
- Ladle hot marmalade into prepared ½-pint jars one at a time, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe rims, attach lids, and place in canner.
- Place lid on canner and bring to a gentle, steady boil - process for 10 minutes, maintaining steady boil the entire time. Turn off heat, and remove jars to a towel-lined surface to cool for 24 hours without disturbing. Check lids for seal before labeling and storing in a cool, dark place (with rings removed).
-Use as a glaze for meats like chicken, ham and pork, as well as seafood (my favorite is shrimp).
-Top grilled steak, pork, chicken and seafood.
-Add on top of Boursin cheese or cream cheese as an appetizer.
-Mix into sour cream as a dip for crackers, pretzels, or chips.