Last weekend we celebrated the end of Summer at the Toowoomba Farmer’s Market. I sold the last of the 2015 Red Onion Jam. So I didn’t need the tasting sample any more. That night we had beautiful Pork Chops from Paddock to Potager. I slow- roasted them on a bed of carrots and beetroot. When they were nearly cooked, I drizzled the last Red Onion Jam on top and turned up the heat till the chops were sizzling. It was so delicious it was all gone before I thought to take a photo. You’ll just have to take my word for it and you really should try it.
I realised that if I didn’t make another Batch ASAP you would have to wait till December. I headed over to Fiona at Forest Hill Farm store and bought some of her dwindling supply of local red onions.
Red Onion Jam is not my favourite thing to make – until I find a better way I need to peel and cut the onions by hand. This is the only way I can get the lovely little wedges of oniony sweetness. So it is a rather tearful procedure as you can imagine. Picking the leaves of thyme stems can also drive me to tears. But that preparation done, cooking onion jam is a gentle slow process where the onion is gently sweated and
sugar added to carmelise it into a sticky onion delight.
Onion Jam is often cooked fresh in restaurants to serve with steak or roast. I particularly like it with pork. When Geoff and I decided to make it in bottles we were concerned that the fresh cooked colour and flavour would fade. After a bit of experiment we made it with Cranberries for added fruity sweetness and that lovely red colour. This worked well. However it seems that most dried cranberries come from USA or Canada. Here at Gecko Grove we try to use products that are fresh local and seasonal. Some products like vinegar, salt, sugar, dried fruit come from outside the Lockyer Valley but we buy Australian products as much as we can. For us it’s about supporting Australian Growers and Makers and having low food miles. The one big exception is Spices. We talked about this in a previous post – Added Spice.
So last year I decided I needed to find an alternative to imported Cranberries. I needed something sweet, fruit and red preferably grown in the Lockyer Valley. Inspiration struck when making Strawberry Jam! Strawberries ticked all the boxes except that local strawberries are not in season at the same time as red onions and I didn’t really want those pesky little black strawberry seeds in my Onion Jam. Inspiration struck again! If I made Strawberry Vinegar the Strawberry flavour and colour would be preserved until the red onions came in. Sometimes I am quite chuffed with myself.
I made Red Onion Jam before Christmas 2015 and sold it to happy customers to use with their summer roasts and barbecues. Today I am making a small batch of Red Onion Jam. It’s nice served straight from the bottle with almost any kind of meat but it’s excellent warmed in the pan with the meat juices.