I adore spring! The flowers are waking up in the April sunshine. Walking in the countryside here in East sussex is a daily delight. The primroses are flourishing on the banks of the streams and verges, wood anemones in their thousands carpeting the woodland floors and my absolute favourite dog violet or blue mice embroidering themselves in amongst their wild flower family. Walking and filling the senses with the beauty of nature in itself is a pleasure and having a love of foraging for wild food adds an extra level of enjoyment. There is always something out there to forage for through the changing seasons and at the moment I can’t come home without a basketful of wild garlic. Please see my wild garlic pesto recipe for more info about wild garlic. Making preserves is such a rewarding form of cooking, using super seasonal ingredients give you great store cupboard essentials for immediate and later seasonal eating. They also make great presents for friends and family.
If you can’t get hold of any wild garlic, don’t worry just use three more large garlic cloves and if possible a handful of chives finely sliced.
- 1.5 kg red onions, peeled, finely sliced
- 300g wild garlic leaves and stems, roughly chopped
- ½ red finger chilli, deseeded, finely chopped (optional)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled, finely sliced
- 250g dark brown soft sugar
- 350ml red wine vinegar
- 100ml balsamic vinegar
- 200ml sloe gin or port
- flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Put all the ingredients into a preserving pan, stir and bring to the boil over a medium to high heat.
- Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer ( a steady low bubble ) and cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring regularly. You should be left with a lovely juicy/gooey mixture.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool.
- Spoon into sterilised jars, seal and label.
Give the wild garlic a good wash and dry in a clean tea towel or give it a whizz in a salad spinner to get rid of the excess water.
Use the stems of the wild garlic too, they taste like garlic chives.
Finely slice the red onion, a hand held mandolin slicer is a speedy and efficient helper for this job.
The april sunshine casting wonderful light over the red onion skins.
The red chilli adds an additional flavour to the marmalade, but its not too hot or overpowering. Its an optional ingredient and this marmalade tastes great with or without it, so the choice is yours.
Roughly chop up the leaves and stems of the wild garlic.
If you have a bottle of your homemade sloe gin left over from last year add this to the marmalade, if not add a little port. Both enhance the flavour and colour of this delicious preserve. I use sloe gin a lot in cooking adding it to casseroles, bolognese, gravy, sauces and jams.
I hope you enjoy bubbling up this amazing red onion and wild garlic marmalade. Preserves are precious and easy to make and for this one you don’t needs loads of special equipment. You only need a preserving pan or heavy based cast iron casserole dish, a wooden spoon and a few sterilised jars.
Make it now whilst the wild garlic is abundant and enjoy putting it with loads of foods for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and even a midnight feast!
ps: to make the labels just get along to a local craft shop and grab yourself a stamper kit. I found mine in a little shop in Lewes (East Sussex) and got the letters, ink pad and labels for under a fiver! bargain!