Friday, February 25, 2011

Onion Relish

My younger brother has been giving me a bad time for not posting anything to my blog for the last few months.   I haven't really been doing anything lately, food-storage wise.  But looking back, I see I never posted about a couple projects from a few months ago.  So here we go.

Sure, you can store onions in your root cellar (assuming you have one--I don't).  But some onions don't store well.  And besides...wouldn't you like to do something new with your onions?  How about Onion Relish?  Sounds weird, doesn't it?  But it's actually quite tasty.

I got the recipe from Blue Ribbon Preserves, by Linda J. Amendt.  I used Walla Walla Sweet onions in my relish (so yeah, this was from last summer).  But I'm sure normal onions would be good, too.  I'll bet red onions would be beautiful.  The recipe calls for white wine vinegar, rather than ordinary white vinegar.  I had to look around my grocery store a little bit before I found it.  It was with the specialty vinegars in fancy bottles, not with the gallon jugs of white or cider vinegar.

Here's the recipe (of course, all the normal safety precautions should be followed):

Makes about 4 pint jars

8 cups finely chopped sweet onions
1 tablespoon pickling salt or kosher salt
1 ¾ cups white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon or ¾ teaspoon crushed dried tarragon
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced

  1. In a large bowl, layer the onions and salt. Gently stir until well combined. Let sit 4 hours.
  2. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  3. Drain the onions thoroughly. Press out the excess liquid.
  4. Make the relish:
    1. In a 6- to 8-quart stainless steel pan, combine the vinegar, sugar, tarragon, and garlic.
    2. Over medium-low heat, gradually heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
    3. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the syrup to a boil.
    4. Add the drained onions to the syrup.
    5. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
    6. Remove the pan from the heat
  5. Ladle hot relish into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot relish. Wipe jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
  6. 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.
Wait at least a month before opening jars of relish, to allow the flavors to fully develop.

I didn't get 4 pint jars from this recipe.  The onions reduce by almost half while sitting in the salt for 4 hours.  I had purchased enough onions for 2 batches, and I got 5 pint jars out of the 2 batches.  I made two separate batches.  I did not combine into one batch.
This is a very mild, slightly sweet, relish.  I've used it on both hamburgers and hotdogs, and I really like it.  But I don't like really hot food.  This might not have enough zing for something who likes spicier food.  I also found that if I put mustard on the hotdog or onions on the hamburger, I can't really taste this relish. 
I don't remember whether I used my 6-quart or 4.5-quart stainless-steel pan, but there was plenty of room for this recipe--you don't need to worry if you don't have an 8-quart pan.