This easy and delicious Balsamic Onion Jam recipe is absolutely packed with flavor and is safe for water bath canning!
I am a hug fan of savory jams and this is one of my family's absolute favorites! Sweet onions combined with tangy balsamic vinegar and maple syrup create a lovely sweet and savory preserve that is fantastic served with cheese and crackers and dynamite on a burger or grilled chicken sandwich.
This recipe was originally adapted from Ball Canning and is safe for water bath canning. Be sure to follow safe canning practices as outlined by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
What is water bath canning?
Canning is simply the process of applying adequate heat to high acid food that is sealed in jars for the allotted time necessary to kill off bacteria and micro-organisms that cause food spoilage. During heating, oxygen is driven out of the jars, causing a vacuum seal to form when the jars cool down. This prevents any outside micro-organisms and oxygen from getting back into the food. When done correctly, canning preserves food safely for at least a year, although probably much, much longer.
You can check out my guide on How to Safely Water Bath Can at Home more resources on safe home preserving.
Safe canning resources.
If you are new to canning you can find great resources, recipes and tutorials at Ball Canning and the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
You can also check out my guide on How to Water Bath Can at Home.
More preserving recipes for you to enjoy.
For the Balsamic Onion Jam.
- Large pot
- Cutting board and knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
Fort water bath canning.
- Mason jars: Make sure the jars are clean and that the lids are brand new. You cannot reuse canning lids.
- Large pot with rack OR Electric Canner: If you only can once in a while using a large pot with a canning rack works just fine. As someone who personally does a lot of canning and I absolutely LOVE my Ball FreshTech Electric Canner.
- Jar lifter: You will need a jar lifter to remove the hot jars from the water bath.
- Funnel: I personally love this canning funnel because it also allows you to measure the headspace easily.
- Ladle: This Prepworks Canning Scoop is my favorite.
- Sweet onions: I like using Vidalia onions.
- Balsamic vinegar: Check to make sure it's diluted to a minimum of 5% acidity.
- Maple syrup: Look for pure maple syrup rather than pancake syrup for this recipe. It makes a huge difference.
- Bay leaf
- Black pepper
- Apple juice: I recommend using 100% organic apple juice for this recipe.
- Low/no sugar pectin: For this recipe you'll need to use a Pectin that works for lower sugar jam recipes. I recommend Sure-Jell Premium Light Fruit Pectin but other brands work as well.
More recipes to check out.
Made this Balsamic Onion Jam? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Balsamic Onion Jam
- Large pot
- Cutting board and knife
- Water bath canning equipment see notes above
- 2 lb sweet onions, diced
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar diluted to at least 5% acidity
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups apple juice organic recommended
- 3 tbsp Low or No-sugar pectin
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- In a large pot combine onions, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt, pepper and 1 bay leaf.Cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Add in apple juice and pectin and stir to combine. Turn heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Then add sugar all at once and bring the mixture back to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil at this level for 1 minute then remove the pot from the heat. At this point you can either spoon the jam into jars and place them in the fridge or can them using the instructions below.
Water bath canning instructions.
- Ladle the jam into 7-8 half pint jars leaving about ¼th to ⅓rd inch of headspace.Remove air bubbles and wipe the jar rims.Place on new, clean lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (adjusting time for altitude).Turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the warm water for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a towel on the counter (do not place directly on the counter).Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for about 24 hours until all the lids have sealed.Store sealed jars in a cool dry place for 12-18 months for best quality.*Note* If any of the jars do not seal simply store in the refrigerator and consume within 10-14 days.
Hi I tried this recipe today. I used 2 tsp of white ground pepper. I tasted the mix just before I put into jars and the flavour almost blew my head off... like maybe too much pepper or balsamic too strong.. just wondering if this flavour changes, do the jars need to sit for a few weeks? Many thanks
Hi Louise, so I personally am not a fan of white ground pepper. I find the flavor too strong and sort of unappealing. That’s why this recipe calls for 1.5 tsp of black ground pepper. I can’t really speak to whether or not the white pepper will mellow with time. But I recommend if you try this recipe again using black pepper, I find it much more delicious!
I wonder why you cut the amount of onions in half, but left the rest of the recipe as it was written in the Ball Canning book. I realize you stated it had been modified, but has the modified recipe been safety tested? Also, maybe the reduced onion content has something to do with why the flavor seems so strong?
Hi there- My apologies! The recipe should say 2 lb of onions but for some reason it was logged as 1 lb. I have made the adjustment and I'm very sorry that your preserves tasted too strong. In terms of safety as long as you use 2.5 lb of onions or less that level of acidity is enough to ensure a water bath canning safe product. It is the onions that lower the acidity level so only using 1 lb (rather than 2) with the same amount of vinegar will actually have a higher acidity than if you used 2 lb.
What should the consistency of the liquid be after boiling. I cooked a lot longer than called for and seems a little thin still. Will it thicken as it sits canned?
Hi Scott- The consistency of the jam after boiling will seem very liquidy and it should easily pour into the jars. It will thicken as it sits, and usually takes about 24-48 hours to set completely. However, I do not recommend boiling for much longer than the time specified in the recipe. This jam is thickened by the added pectin not through reduction. If you boil the jam for too long after adding the pectin it can actually scorch the pectin and cause the jam not to set. If that happens the jam is still safe to eat and can be used as a sauce or marinade. But there's not really a way to re-cook it to thicken if the pectin has been scorched. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi, yes it kind of does. After it sets in the jars should ot be thick like jam? Or not so much? I think may have done what you said not to lol
Can you double the recipe? Will it still set properly?
Hi Erika- for this particular recipe I personally don’t recommend it. I’ve doubled it and found the set to be a bit a off about half of the time. I’ll try to work on a fool proof to get up on the blog soon. Thanks!