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


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

How to Make Zesty Red Onion Preserves


  • 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

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