Tropea Red Onion Jam! - Confettura di Cipolle Rosse di Tropea
Here is another wonderful jam recipe that my family shared with me while in Tuscany. Typically, it is made with ‘Cipolle Rosse di Tropea,’ (Tropea red onions) otherwise known as ‘La Regina Rossa’ or ‘The Red Queen,’ but since they are difficult to find here in the States (depending on where you live), we used sweet red onions instead.
The beautiful and delicious Tropea red onions derive from a small town in Calabria called Tropea, a town appreciated for its wonderful beaches, and also renowned for its typical products where the Tropea red onion is one of the most famous bulbs in the world. According to locals, the sign of a good ‘Cipolla Rossa di Tropea’ is that you can eat it like an apple! So naturally, I ate it like an apple and it was incredibly delicious!
No only is it enjoyable, but it is also good for you. Studies have shown that the Tropea onion has health benefits that support rheumatism, headaches, cholesterol, helps fight colds and the flu, and fights diabetes, to name a few. In addition, the red color is given by quercetin, an antioxidant that boosts your immune system and which, together with vitamin C, helps to protect capillaries and connective tissue.
Preparation for Tropea red onion jam is very simple, however it does require some time and patience, but all well worth it! The only negative aspect is that this jam does not have a great yield because the onion has a high water content, which evaporates during cooking so it is always better to prepare a higher quantity. Get ready for some happy tears! Again, it’s worth it!
Tropea red onion jam is a very versatile delicacy that enhances the taste of mature cheeses such as, parmigiano or pecorino, two of our favorites. It also pairs well with grilled meats and, of course, with a slice of rustic homemade bread!
Tropea Red Onion Jam
1.5 - 2hours
2 pounds (approx. 6 - 8 onions) sweet red onions, peeled, washed, halved, and thinly sliced.
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons cognac or whisky
1/2 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced (optional)
1 small apple, peeled and cut into small cubes
Sterilize jars and caps according to standard procedures. First, wash jars and caps under running warm water, then transfer jars in a high-sided large sauce pan lined with a clean kitchen cloth. Arrange additional kitchen clothes between the jars to prevent them from cracking while boiling. Cover pot with water until jars are completely covered. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes, then add the caps and simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn heat off and set aside to cool. When water has reached room temperature, remove the jars and lids from the sauce pan and place them on a clean kitchen cloth to dry completely.
Using a chef knife or mandolin, cut onions into thin slices and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cognac, white wine, bay leaf, ginger (if using), and apple. Mix well with a wooden spoon, then cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a cool, dry place, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 12 hours (longer is better).
Once the resting time has elapsed, remove the bay leaf and place the onions in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, bring to a boil on high heat, then simmer on low heat for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours or until caramelization occurs and onions begin to thicken and become caramel-like. To test the onions, take a little bit of the mixture with a tablespoon and place it on a plate. Tilt the plate sideways and if the mixture slips and is not compact, continue cooking for the necessary time, stirring frequently. The onions must remain compact: this is proof that your jam is ready.
Turn off heat. Using a small wooden spoon, transfer jam into sterilized glass jars leaving about 1/4 inch of space from the edge of the jar, clean edges of the jars and close them tightly, then turn jars upside down under kitchen towels, table cloth, or blanket. Store in a cool, dry place until completely cooled. Once cooled, turn them right side up and store for one month before opening the jar.
- Homemade onion jam can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
- Once opened, store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
- Yields: about 3 cups