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Red onion jam

Updated Thursday, 28th June 2007

Try out our recipe from the Ever Wondered About Food series

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jar of onion jam [photo: Paul Gregory Photography, UK]


  • 10 red onions, peeled, halved and very finely sliced
  • 500ml (18 fl oz) red wine (= four glasses)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) Demerara sugar
  • ½ jar (125 g or 4½ oz) redcurrant jelly
  • one glass of port (125 ml or 4½ fl oz)
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) (2 fl oz) red wine vinegar.


This is really quick and easy but take care not to burn or caramelise the onions or sugar. This jam goes very well with steak or as an accompaniment to a cheeseboard or in your cheddar cheese sandwich.

  1. Place the onions in a casserole pan over a medium heat on the hob.
  2. Add the red wine and Demerara sugar.
  3. Simmer until the red wine has nearly cooked away.
  4. Add the red currant jelly, port and red wine vinegar to the pan.
  5. Simmer until you have a really jammy consistency.
  6. You can keep the jam in a sterilized unopened jar in the fridge for up to 2 months. Once opened, consume within 2 weeks.

Did you know?

Onions make us cry because they contain more than a hundred sulphur-containing compounds. Slicing the onions breaks open the cells and releases these sulphur compounds as a gas. This dissipates through the air and reacts with the water in the eye, creating a mild solution of sulphuric acid. The tear glands then produce tears to dilute and flush out the acid.

To avoid crying, you can chill the onion which prevents the enzymes from activating. Using a sharp knife will limit the cell damage, and so reduce the amount of enzymes released. Slicing onions by an open window or under an extractor to increase the ventilation will dissipate the tear-inducing gas.




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