Photo from Adobe Stock/fudio
How do you improve on jam? The same way you improve on almost any recipe — add bacon! Joking aside, this recipe packs big flavor with its salty-sweet goodness. Garlic, onion, and bacon meet brown sugar and maple — with a hit of tang from cider vinegar. Serve it on fancy crostini or bring it to the breakfast table. It adds punch to a bagel and cream cheese and even goes well with scrambled eggs. One other thing: This recipe is packed in tiny half-pint jars for a reason. It requires a large quantity of good-quality bacon and the last thing you want is to crack open a jar only to have it languish and expire in the fridge. On the upside, the tiny jars make great gifts. Finally, don’t be in a rush when making this recipe. It requires time and care to keep the bacon from burning — trust me when I say it’s worth every minute.
Processing time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Pressure: 10 pounds weighted gauge, 11 pounds dial gauge
Yield: 12 half pints
- 5 pounds good-quality bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 large yellow onions, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups very strong coffee
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- Pepper to taste
Photo by Kerry Michaels
- In a large skillet over medium heat cook the bacon, in batches so you don’t crowd the pan, until it starts to crisp, being careful not to burn it. Drain the excess fat (you may need to do this more than once), reserving 2 tablespoons. Set the bacon aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, combine the reserved bacon fat, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the garlic is soft.
- Stir in the coffee, vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Add the cooked bacon to the onion mixture. Reduce the heat until the mixture is at a low simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring often. If the bacon is not tender after 1 hour, continue to cook for a few minutes longer until the bacon is tender.
- While the bacon cooks, prepare 12 wide-mouth half-pint jars and the canner: Clean the jars and prepare the 2-piece lids according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Keep the jars in hot but not boiling water until you’re ready to use them. Prepare the canner by filling it with 2 to 3 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer, or according to your manufacturer’s directions.
- Remove the bacon-onion mixture from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes to cool slightly.
- Once the mixture cools slightly, use an immersion blender (or transfer the jam to a food processor and pulse) to break up the mixture just a bit. You want small pieces of bacon and onion, but not a smooth purée.
- Carefully ladle the hot bacon-onion mixture into the hot jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
- Remove any air bubbles with a plastic or wooden utensil, adding more hot jam as needed to maintain the proper 1-inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims and seal the jars hand-tight with the 2-piece lids.
- Carefully transfer the filled jars to the rack inside the pressure canner. Process the jars at the pressure listed above for 1 hour, 15 minutes.
- Let the canner return to 0 pounds pressure. Wait 10 minutes more, then carefully open the canner lid according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- With a jar lifter, remove the jars and place them on a clean dishtowel away from any drafts. Once the jars cool to room temperature, check the seals. If any jars have not sealed, refrigerate them and use the bacon jam within 1 week. Label the remaining jars with the recipe name and date before storing.
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Reprinted with permission from Modern Pressure Canning: Recipes and Techniques for Today’s Home Canner by Amelia Jeanroy and published by Voyageur Press, 2018.