For us in the low country, summer’s end is marked by the beginning of hurricane season. It is a period of months that I absolutely dread, especially considering I did not grow up here. Where I am from, our only worry was the occasional lighting storm or tornado.
With summer marking its end, last week I dug up my summer garden to replant my winter one. Now I am not so certain my tiny little plants are going to make it through the impending storms of hurricane Florence that everyone on the east coast is tracking so closely. Even if Savannah does not get hit directly this week, I can assure you that a gust of torrential rain and wind will likely wipe out my tiny plants.
Part of summer ending and fall/winter replanting means using up the last bit of fruit from the garden. For most southerners this results in canning and saving for the winter. When canning comes around, I tend to lean towards jams and pickles.
Making a jam doesn’t only have to be reserved for fruit or sweet items. I often make onion, bacon, or tomato jam to keep and pair with a hefty cheese plate or put out for a gathering.
The basics of jam are easy, unlike jelly which often requires the addition of pectin or gelatin. To make a jam I employ a few standard techniques, cooking down the star ingredient with a liquid and sugar until it becomes sticky and reduced.
For this jam recipe I use two types of onion, Vidalia and red, to achieve a well rounded flavor. The addition of balsamic vinegar cuts through the sweetness and adds a deep savory flavor.
You can save the recipe by canning the finished jam or store it in the fridge for up to a week.