Day 65: Caramelised Onions

Caramelised Onion Relish
Day Sixty-Five (24.07.2012)
Processing: Hot Water Bath Canner 10mins
Yield: 2 x half-pints

This is a variation of Caramelised Red Onion Relish - my absolute favourite canned item - it's delicious as a base when making homemade pizza (with fresh basil, sliced bocconcini and sliced mushroom, yum!), in sandwiches or as sides to meat. Great for entertaining as part of a platter, too! Or how about a gift box with some pickles, a jar of this relish, some tomato sauce, etc would go down a treat :)
Prepare onions
You'll need about 2 pounds (8 medium onions) per batch - just slice them up and measure 4 cups sliced per batch. You can also dice the onion if you like. Think about what you will use the relish for: if they're going to be added to baking ie quiches, finely diced is better - if they're for pizza/sandwiches/cracker topping, sliced looks nicer. Once onions are sliced, place into a large saucepan with the brown sugar. Keep heat fairly low until sugar dissolves and onions release their juices, then increase heat to a gentle simmer. Takes about 15-20 minutes until the onion slices have caramelised.
caramelised onions
Pre-heat jars and lids
For each batch, you'll want to pre-heating your half pint jars by covering in boiling water and boiling for 10 minutes. Simmer seals and rings covered in water for 10 minutes. By the time the relish is ready to can these will all be heated and ready, too.

added wine & balsamic
Add wine & balsamic vinegar
Choose a good-quality wine that you like to drink - good wine = good relish IYKWIM (^_^) I used a Shiraz (with berry undertone flavour) for this batch. Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar to the pan, stir through and bring to a boil, then simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. We are concentrating the flavour by doing this. Season with salt and pepper.
Fill jars
Position a funnel over the jar, spooning hot relish into hot jars, to a 1/2 inch (1cm) headspace. Remove any bubbles, adding extra relish if required to correct headspace. As the rims of the jars might get a bit sticky while you fill them, wipe with a clean, damp cloth then wipe dry with a dry cloth or paper towel. Add seals to centre of jars and twist rings on to fingertip-tight.

Place filled jars into pre-heated hot water bath canner, pre-boiled water should cover the top of the jars by 1-2 inches (3-5cm) - if not add extra boiling water. Add canner lid and put onto high heat. Process in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. by bringing to a boil and then starting your timer once it has begun boiling, and keep the water boiling during this time. Once you have finished processing, turn off the heat and remove jars after 5 more minutes to a teatowel-covered bench to rest overnight.

Checking seals after 24 hours
The next day check jars have sealed: they shouldn't flex up and down when pressed in the centre. If jars haven't sealed, refrigerate or re-process. For sealed jars, remove bands, label and store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. I made 2 x half-pints of onion relish following this recipe.   
2 pounds sliced brown onions (approx 8 medium onions)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups red wine
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Today I was experimenting with different vinegars (balsamic, red wine, white wine), wine (red or white) and brown onions (which I had a LOT to use up). There were several failures that I won't share here (LOL) but I found that the best combination of flavour came from using the red wine and brown sugar. Slowly simmering the brown onions released that strong onion smell/flavour that they have, and made them quite tasty as a final product!
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