Zesty Red Onion Preserves

Donna Graffagnino


I don't know what possessed me to make this recipe, but I am so glad that I did. Don't let the word Onion scare you ~ this amazingly sweet and zesty preserve is not only beautiful but tastes like a gourmet condiment.

Recipe from the Ball Canning Blue Book

★★★★★ 1 vote
6 4-ounce jars
20 Min
30 Min
Stove Top


1 c
red onions, finely chopped
2 tsp
lemon zest
3/4 c
white vinegar
3 c
pouch certo liquid pectin


1Prepare water bath canner; sterilize your jars and lids while making the recipe.
(TIP: Skip the boiling water and put your jars on a baking sheet in a 225 degree oven for 25 minutes - then reduce heat to 200 to 'hold' until ready to use. - No more boiling cans for me!)
2In a large deep stainless steel saucepan combine red onion, lemon zest, and vinegar. Stir in sugar and over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.

*TIP: You can microwave the onion skins in the vinegar to help give the finished product a richer color, or add drops of red and blue food color until you get the desired color. I use food color.
3Stir in pectin. Boil hard, continuing to stir, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly skim off any foam.
4Working quickly, ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4" head-space. Wipe rim with damp paper towel or rag then seal with lid and screw on band to fingertip tight.
5Place jars in canner and make sure the jars are completely covered with water. Bring back to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
6Use this with my Garlic Parmesan Panetini and Brie cheese.
7*Notes: When I first made this I increased the recipe 7 times.

When you multiply a recipe by this much the end product may not set up exactly as a single batch. That being said, I really like the end product of the large batch because it has a thick preserve-like texture. If you want it firm like jelly I'd recommend adding more pectin or making a smaller batch.

7 cups lg red onions, minced, about 5 large onions
zest of 2 lg lemons
6 1/2 C white vinegar 5% acidity or higher
21 cups white sugar (this is not a typo)
7 pouches of Liquid Certo pectin