Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Canning Caramelized Onions


Caramelized onions are delicious on a hot roast beef sandwich, a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, atop a baked potato, or stirred into mashed potatoes... among other things. I decided I would caramelize and can some of my Vidalia onions.

Here's what I did...

First, I peeled my onions, then cut them in half and sliced them in about 1/4 inch slices.


Then, I started melting butter in my crock pot (with the heat on high), about 2 Tablespoons of butter for every pound of onions... I had sliced 6 pounds of onions, so I melted one stick of butter...


Then sliced another stick of butter into pats to add on top when all the onions had been added to the crock pot.


I left the heat on high in the crock pot for about an hour, until the onions started sweating a little and the butter was mostly melted, then I turned it down to low and, stirring after a couple hours more, I left it to cook for about 10 hours, or overnight.


Next morning the onions were golden brown and caramelized, so I got to work on the canning process.


I heated half pint canning jars in a pan of water set across two stove eyes with a dish towel lining the bottom of the pan to keep the jars from tipping over or knocking together.


I simmered the lids and rings and kept them hot until I was ready for them.


I began ladling the onions into the jars using a canning funnel. Some recipes I have read say to drain the onions first but I like the juice too, so I left it in.


I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth.


Using my plastic gadget, I ran it down the sides to get rid of any air bubbles (a butter knife will do the job just as well).


Then I put the lids and rings on, tightening them to finger-tip tightness.

Onions are a low-acid food and must be pressure canned unless they're made into pickles or relish using vinegar or other high-acid ingredients... there was nothing in these onions except onions and butter so I got the pressure canner out.

I processed the jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 70 minutes. (Follow the directions that come with your brand of pressure canner).

After processing I removed the canner from the heat and let the pressure drop to ZERO on its own... don't rush it, you don't want broken jars!

I removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter and set them to cool on a folded dish towel on the counter... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.


Yummy! Can't wait to mix them into some mashed potatoes... or, seeing as I used Vidalias, and they are sweeter than most onions, my caramelized onions will be sweet... maybe I should call it onion jam... and maybe I'll just have it on toast for breakfast!

Canning Granny©2011 All Rights Reserved













74 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm glad the onions are done! LOL

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  2. I have been all over the Internet looking for a canning recipe for caramelized onions! Thanks for posting this!

    Did this recipe come from a book because if it did I would love to know which one! I need that book LOL as its got something different in it obviously! :O)

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  3. I sorta developed the recipe from several I found online, no book, sorry ;-)
    Granny

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  4. This recipe looks really good.
    And, since I love onions...I'm going to try it asap.

    BTW: It is nice to read a food blogger that use the proper canning procedure!

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  5. I'd been looking all over for a canning recipe for carmelized onions as well. How much headspace did you leave? I may have missed it.

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  6. A half inch of headspace... sorry 'bout that ~~Granny

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  7. Oh no trouble at all! I just finally looked today while making the onions to see if you'd replied. Thank you so much. =) I figured it was a 1/2 or a 1/4" but none of the books I have deal with canning the onions, only refrigerating them. I just made ketchup with plums. We'll see how that goes. =)

    Dawn

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  8. "Using my plastic gadget, I ran it down the sides to get rid of any air bubbles (a butter knife will do the job just as well)."

    I believe that plastic gadget is used for a reason. Some metals can react with the food, changing its taste, and not for the better.

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    Replies
    1. Metal can scratch the inside of the jar causing it to crack or burst when processing or during temperature changes.

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  9. YAY!! A carmelized onion canning recipe that makes sense!! Just curious though, what elevation are you at? I am over 2000ft and have to adjust the weight to all my regular recipes for the pressure canner. I've never had to use 15lbs, but want to make sure we are on the same cloud before I ruin a whole lot of yummy onions!! Thank you!!

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  10. OOPS!! I totally got my numbers wrong! I'm just under 2000ft and always use 15lbs....

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  11. I am only at about 450 ft. so I don't have to go with the higher elevation instructions. Good luck... my onions are delicious!!!! ~~Granny

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  12. Thank you so much! I went ahead and made a comparison to other things I can that have onions in them... used 15 lbs of pressure worked GREAT!!

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  13. Great! Glad they turned out well! ~~Granny

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  14. Pamela - I am so excited to try the pressure canning process today. My onions are ready. Quick question: how long will they store for in the cubbard?

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  15. Also - one more question....I have pint jars (not 1/2 pint) does it matter in the processing time???? - thank you Nicole

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  16. They will last for a year or more... processing time is the same for half pint and pint jars for this recipe. ~~Granny

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  17. Thanks for the crock pot cooking suggestion, I'm about to use it. The two of us eat a LOT of onions, Have about 150# of them in the basement right now.
    Anyway I make a killer 'Sweet and Sour Onion' dish and wanted to pressure can it. Your suggestion should work great. The Sweet and Sour onion recipe is simple. Carmalize 5 cups of onions, then heat separately 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cider vinegar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1/4 cup water. Put onions in Casserole dish and coat onions with the above mixture. Bake uncovered at 300f for 1 hour and serve or can.

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    1. Just read this--would this work just as well to cook the sweet/sour onion mixture in a crock pot? As hot as it is, I really don't want to turn on the oven.

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  18. Did you cook them in the crock pot with the lid on or off? thanks Brenda

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    1. Brenda, the lid on the crockpot. ~~Granny

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  19. Just found this receipe sounds good can this be frozen instead of canned.

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    1. Cathy, I guess it could be frozen, I've never thought about it! ~~Granny

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  20. What kind of butter... margarine sweet cream butter unsalted butter salted butter??? Thanks Teisha. Love ur ideas.

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    1. Real butter! I like salted but unsalted would work too... NOT margarine! ~~Granny

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  21. Yes, thank you for posting this! I have been canning for 40+ years and have never seen this before although I've been giving it lots of thought lately.

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  22. I use olive oil when I make my onions in a frying pan. do you think I could use it in the crock pot?

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    1. Yes, I think olive oil would work just fine. ~~Granny

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  23. I'm a bit nervous about the butter used in this process. Of course this is my first year canning ;) Have you run into any problems since the butter is pressure canned along with the onions?

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    1. Trish, I have not had any problems with the onions... they're still great even after more than a year being canned. I do realize the "rules" say it can be unsafe to can butter, so please use your own judgment. ~~Granny

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  24. How many half-pints did you end up with?

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  25. Awesome!! I can't wait to try this!!

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  26. I made 10 lbs of onions in the crockpot. It worked out famously. It's been 8 months now, and they still look very nice. I canned them with the hopes of using them stirred into mashed potatoes for a nice variation, and also for using when making my bread stuffing. This is all in mind for emergency prepping. Not a bad thing to have on hand when you start getting tired of beans and rice.

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  27. I love adding garlic to my onions when i do them in the fry pan. Is is safe to add minced garlic in oil and can it as per your instructions.
    PS love your blogs and FB page

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  28. I have one last question? I noticed tou say you canned them for 70 minutes. When i looked online for canning onions it was usually 15 20 minutes. I am using a mirro 22 quart and following the directions in the manual but it doesnt have a time limit for onions?

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    1. Moose, the recipe(s) I followed said 70 minutes so that's what I went with, the added butter made me feel I needed to process them at maximum time just to be sure. ~~Granny

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    2. I did it as per your instructions just to be sure. They turned out wonderful with the added garlic in them.
      As Aways your blogs and FB site are awesome.. Thank you again.

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    3. Yummy! Next batch I make I may have to add garlic... sounds great! and thank you! ~~Granny

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    4. Has anyone tried the recipe using olive oil? My husbands cholesterol is very high and I’m having to learn to cook healthier and trying to stay away from butter.

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    5. I think olive oil would work great! ~~Granny

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  29. Granny-thanks for the recipe! In 30+ years of canning I never canned onions, only froze them for later use. We just had a big sale on onions at the grocery store and there was no room in my freezer for more, so went Googling and found your great website. I've always loved caramelized onions, have made in the Crock Pot for many years, and my half pints worked out perfectly--an even dozen of them. And so pretty in their jars! Now I've got to resist the temptation to give them away. Thanks again! Richard in Texas

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  30. I would like to use olive oil and put in half pint jars. Would I process for the same amount of time 70 minutes?

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    1. Yes, 70 minutes for half pints. ~~Granny

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  31. First off, I’m new to canning. Most recipe call for lemon juice or salt I noticed you don’t use either. Can I ask why and do I need it with other recipes?

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    1. This particular recipe called for neither salt nor lemon juice as part of the recipe and is not needed. ~~Granny

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  32. Can't thank you enough for sharing this great recipe! First batch was so good, I made another batch. Both mornings I found my husband in the kitchen getting a bowl of onions for breakfast. He loves them. Thanks again. Love the story of Smokey Dog, I also have a recused Shepherd, that is closer to me than my shadow.

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  33. do you think you could do the same recipe but with red onions insted?

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  34. Could this recipe be done in quart jars? I would like to can them so that they would be ready for my onion soup recipe. If so how long would they need to be processed in the pressure cooker?

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    1. I don't see why not... process them at 10 lbs. pressure for 90 minutes. ~~Granny

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  35. I tried this and LOVED how you can use the slow-cookers ("crockpot") to carmelize onions! I made a french onion soup a few months ago and it was a pain to get a lot of onions: A) chopped and processed AND B) watching a relatively-too-small pot over the stop top to try to properly brown but not burn them. I didn't add salt to any of mine and didn't pay attention to the butter and probably some/all of it was UNsalted...................MY MAIN QUESTION HERE is: None of yours show the butter fat having settled to the top of the jars....a lot of mine have that .....I assume that if they sealed properly, then they are OK regardless.....right??? Thanks Granny!
    _John

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    1. Right John... I'm pretty sure I took the photo of my jars while they were still a little warm... after completely cooling, they too have some butterfat on top... still sealed, opened a jar just the other day and they were just as good as they were a year ago! ~~Granny

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  36. Thanks for this post! I plan to use bacon grease (best for high heat cooking). I love caramelized onions and it takes a while to prepare them. Doing them this way makes it readily available when I want them. I love them in omelets and other dishes.

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  37. I was just curious as to whether or not you could do the onions with bell peppers and can them that way?

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    1. Don't see why not! Sounds yummy! ~~Granny

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  38. I'm new to canning also. Is pressure cooking the only way? I love carmelized onions.

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  39. Grammy, I only problem with these onions is I can't keep them, I put up 24 half pints in September and my husband have eaten 18 of them. I had to hide the last 6 jars from him. Thanks for this great easy recipe!

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  40. Thank you for this recipe. I would think you should use salted butter since salt is a preservative. My question is after pressure canning for 70 minutes, do the onions turn mushy or do they still have their shape? 70 minutes seems excessive.

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  41. Does anyone know how soon food needs to be put in the pressure cooker after caramelizing the onions? How soon after putting them in cans? I caramelized 40 lbs of onions and then my dog passed away. I didn't get to put them through the food processor until the next day, but I cannot find any information that says that they need to be processed within a certain amount of time.

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    1. I think because of the pressure canner you will b fine

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  42. Hello, quick question.. I was thinking of cutting pearl onions in half then roasting them in the oven, then canning them -- I was wondering if it's possible to fill the extra space in the jars with olive oil? Since the onions won't be chopped up there will be lots of air space in the jars, so I wanted to fill it up with oil (I don't want to use vinegar because I already have tons of pickled onions!).
    I've read lots of stuff online about oil insulating botulism and bacteria.. Has anyone tried this, or have any opinions / advice?
    Thanks a bunch!

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    1. "Officially" it's not recommended to can using oils and butters, but as you can see in the post above, I did the onions in butter and they turned out fine. Supposedly the oils tend to go rancid. ~~Granny

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  43. Hello, I have a ton of green peppers & onions from my garden & would like to can sauteed peppers & onions. Do you have any suggestions or would the same directions apply? Thanks!

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    1. The same directions would apply. ~~Granny

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  44. I think you could probably use clarified butter or (ghee as it is sometimes called ) if you are worried about the fat content in the butter going bad. What do you think Granny????

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    1. Yes indeed, ghee would work nicely! ~~Granny

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  45. I made these onions a year ago and now ready to do a second batch. These onions are fantastic atop a home-made pizza!

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  46. I made this today and for some reason the butter was on the outside of jar and in the pressure cooker I put the lid on tight and pressure cooker for 70 mins any ideas what happened

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    1. I had two cans of green beans that boiled over of the 12 I canned the other day. Both jars sealed normally, though with less water. I tightened those lids, too.
      I would guess maybe just the luck of the draw?
      I have already used one of the jars and it tasted fine. The second will be used soon, too, and not stored with the others.
      If your jar sealed, I wouldn't worry. Just plan on using it sooner?

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  47. I was wondering if there's something I could substitute for butter in this recipe? I'm lactose intolerant, so I try to avoid it when possible.

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    1. someone mentioned bacon fat instead but I don't know if they had any success with that....

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  48. Can I use a pressure cooker, versus a pressure canner? I am processing my onions in a 4oz jelly jar

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