James and I fell in love last summer with a Garlic and Onion Jam that we bought at Whittamore Farm's last summer when we went up there to pick Raspberries. It was made by Stonewall Kitchen and it is a heavenly spread on crackers or bread with cheese. Ever since then I have wanted to try making it and this morning at 8am when I went into the kitchen and saw the pile of onions staring at me, I thought...why not make it now. So now that the jars are cooling on the rack upstairs, I thought I would share some key learnings with you.
1) If you are going to chop onions, especially in the quantity that you require to make jam, you are going to want to have a box of kleenex nearby or you will want to wear a pair of these. I just used a pair of my safety goggles, but I know you can buy glasses that are specifically for chopping onions. Burning eyes at 8am are less than pleasant.
2) Always make sure that your knives are nice and sharp. We have a great ceramic knife sharpener made by Wusthof in Germany. Simple to use, takes seconds to sharpen your knives and does a fantastic job. There is nothing worse than having to finely chop onion and garlic and having it feel like your knife is chewing through inside of slicing through the onion. Takes more time and ends up in more tears :)
3) When a recipe calls for 2 cups of white wine, consider making it in the afternoon so that you can enjoy that glass of wine still left in the bottle. It is a shame to have to put it back in the fridge but even I recognize that a glass of wine at 9am is really not the best way to wake up and start the day. So into the fridge it went with a mental note that the next time I make a batch of garlic and onion jam that it will happen after lunch!
4) Always use the freshest of ingredients. You don't want to use the garlic that has been sitting on your cupboard for a week and has green shoots growing out the ends. (I didn't do this...I'm just saying) and you want to finely chop your garlic and not use a press. Using a press just sprays all the good juice out on your cutting board and not into the jam where you want it
5) Don't let the onions brown. Keep a close eye on them and stir them regularly. You may think the browning will add nice colour once in the jar, but it just make the onions tough, which no one will appreciate.
And finally...and for me this was the MOST important learning this morning. When posting to your blog, don't accidentally open up the file folder with the photos from your honeymoon in Croatia. It's NOVEMBER stupid and the shots of the sea and the sun are only going to make your already grey and dreary day that much drearier even if you have amazing garlic onion jam to put on your sandwich at lunch!