The onion jam turned out with a wonderful flavor, the only problem I had was that it didn’t set. Grrrr…not the first time this has happened to me using liquid pectin. I will need to reprocess it using powdered pectin, which I get a better quality of product with. Ah well, live and learn. I won’t be purchasing the liquid any more. A few years ago, I made and canned my own liquid pectin using the crab apples from our tree. It actually turned out great, and I ended up using all 10 jars that I canned, but it’s long gone now. I may try to make some more this year, but I need to be in the fall harvest for that to happen and right now is when I need it. So, powdered will work in a pinch. Following is the recipe for the onion jam, which I got from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving:
Quick Red Onion Marmalade
1 1/2 c thinly sliced halved red onions (I chopped in my food processor instead as I didn’t want the stringy onions since I was using it for a spread)
1/2 c finely chopped dried cranberries (also used my food processor on the puree setting, left a little of the onions in with them for moisture as they chopped better that way)
1/4 c lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 c apple cider vinegar (must be 5% acidity, so no homemade here, please)
2 Tbs grated orange rind (organic if you can find them…well for all of your ingredients actually)
3 cups unsweetened apple juice
1 package 1.75 oz regular powdered fruit pectin
4 c sugar (I know, I know a lot of sugar, but you don’t use much spread on each sandwich and pectin won’t work right if you alter the sugar, so splurge this one time, okay?)
- Prepare canner, jars and lids. (Beginning canners, please use the Ball website to learn to do this if you are unsure. Food safety is the utmost importance, and this gives you a much more detailed description than I could provide for you… http://www.freshpreservingcom/Official. My official disclaimer ).
- In a skillet, over medium heat, combine red onion, cranberries, brown sugar and vinegar. Cook, stirring, until onion is transparent, about 10 minutes. (Ummm, hopefully you like the smell of pickled onions because this gets a little…how shall we say? pungent, yes, that’s it, odiferous at best)
- In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine cooked onion mixture, orange zest and apple juice. Whisk pectin in until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once (save yourself the headache and pre-measure this out into a bowl so you can add it all at once) and return to a full rolling boil (make sure you start timing AFTER that rolling boil is achieved, otherwise, your pectin won’t set right either…it’s rather tempermental stuff sometimes), stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 full minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
- Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot marmalade. Wipe rim clean and dry. Center lid on jar, screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tip tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store. Makes about 7 eight ounce jars.
This recipe is worth giving a try, I think it will make a great spread, it certainly came out delicious. You would need to like a sweet and sour kind of flavor with a citrus note, in fact I’m thinking this would make a great addition to a sweet and sour sauce for homemade Chinese food (making note in my brain for a future Chinese food night, yep, think this would be yummy for dipping spring rolls in, too, if thinned out a bit). I like to do a fried rice, spring roll and some kind of stir fry night from time to time. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good trip to the Lucky Corner or China Garden, too, but this would be far healthier to just make my own and so some nights I do just that.
Okay, for the folks that were following and want to know what the board with the holes in it originally was on the farm…are you excited to learn it?…I bet you are! My original guess was some sort of fencing, they would run barbed wire or something through it. I thought that seemed plausible, but alas, it was nothing like that as it predates barbed wire by quite a bit.
Back in the day, this was the frame for a rope bed. In the days before box springs, they used ropes woven together to hold mattresses. If you were wealthy, you would have had a mattress stuffed with wool, the people of lesser means used hay (hence the term “hit the hay” when you’re getting ready to go to bed). The ropes were put in one side of the hole and then move over to the next hole and have it come back out that hole. This would have been originally horizontal, as in the above picture, rather then vertical, as we see there in our wall. We figure they must have needed a board to mount the lathe to, found this in the barn scrap pile and put it in the wall. Kinda neat, huh?
Gonna end for now. If anyone wants to try the onion jam recipe, please let me know how it comes out. You could also reasonably keep this in the fridge for a while if you didn’t want to can it, and I’m sure it would freeze well also. Until next time, be well and blessings to everyone.