For some reason of all my tomato plants the most productive one was a volunteer heirloom Black Pearl Cherry Tomato plant that insisted on taking over a middle raised garden bed. No complaints this is my favorite Cherry Tomato! It’s sweet and not overly “tomatoey” in flavor. We eat them like candy.
However, in the early autumn days this plant decided to become an over over achiever giving us a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes.
I decided to use them up so they wouldn’t go to waste by making Balsamic Cherry Tomato Caramelized Onion Conserve.
2 tbsp real butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 pounds of sweet onions quartered and thinly sliced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 pints of cherry tomatoes cleaned and sliced in half
3/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of Balsamic vinager
1 tsp of dark rum (I used flavoring)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot, heat butter and oil over medium low heat until the butter melts. Add onions, salt, and sugar. Cook covered for 13 to 15 min or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and cook and stir over medium high heat until the onions are a golden brown but do not burn!
Stir in cherry tomatoes and honey into the onion mixture.
Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring continuously.
Reduce heat to a medium high and boil until tomatoes are starting to soften. Stir continuously as to not scorch.
Remove from heat. Stir in Balsamic vinager, rum, and pepper until well mixed.
Ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4in headspace.
Wipe jars, place lids, adjust rings.
Process filled jars in a water bath or steam canner. Start timing when your canner is at a full boil or your temperature Guage on the steam canner indicates per instructions. Process jars for 10 min.
Remove jars from canner & cool until sealed. Place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.
Towel hangers are an essential for the kitchen, work shop, barn, anywhere you might need a quick towel within reach. This towel holder holds any towel making it easy to swap it out and replace with a clean towel.
These take about 15 min to make and you can repurpose scraps!
Skill level Beginniner
slst = slip stich
ch = chain
sc = single stich
dc = double stich
dc2tog = (or decrease) double stich 2 dc together
Scrap yarn of your choice. For kitchen/bathroom use, Redheart Super Saver yarn works perfectly. For barn, garage, or outside, Twine, yes, bailing twine, works perfectly.
Size H crochet hook
1 yarn needle
1 button with big enough center holes to get your yarn needle through it.
A “ring”. This is where you can get really creative with repurposing “stuff”. I like to use a large ponytail ring. You can also use plastic “bangle” round bracelets (for large towels), cut out plastic rings from milk jugs, or pretty much anything that is the right size “hole” for holding your towel so that it doesn’t slip out easily.
Make your starting loop in your yarn as you would to start a chain
Row 1: Enter through the ring as if you are pointing your hook away from you (this will help you not get tangled up in your yarn on the circle) sc over your ring from inside the ring. 3 chain (this will be your first dc), dc around the ring. For a ponytail ring its 34 DC. You want the yarn to be firm and not expose the ring but not so tight it bunches up. slst into the third chain at the top (where you started). ch 3 and turn
Row 2: Starting with your 1st dc from row one, dc 1 in each of the next 10 dc. ch 3 turn.
Row 3: dc in the first dc. 1 dc in next dc 10 times . ch 3 turn
Row 4: dc in the first dc. 1 dc in next dc 11 times . ch 3 turn
Row 5: sk the first stitch directly beside your chain, 1 dc in next dc 11 times
Row 6 through 9 repeat Row 5
Row 10: 1dc2tog,1 dc in next dc 7 times, 1dc2tog, 1dc ch 3 turn
Row 11: 1dc2tog, 1 dc in next dc 5 times, 1dc2tog, 1dc ch 3 turn
Row 12: 1 dc in next dc 8 times, ch 3 turn
Row 13 – 19 repeat row 12
Row 20: Buttonhole row: dc in next 3 dc, ch 1 (sk a stitch) dc in next 3 dc. 3 ch turn
Row 21: 1 dc in next 8 dc, 1 ch turn
Row 22: 1dc2tog, 4sc, 1dc2tog, 1 ch turn
Row 23: 7 sc, 1 ch turn
Row 24: 7 sc, tie off.
Cut 2 long strands of yarn, about 6 inches each.
I am using a 4 hole button here, so one strand went bottom left to top right, and the second strand went bottom right to top left.
Line up your button to thread button yarns at the 3rd row from the ring around the 7th DC and pull through to the back, leaving the button on the front. Tie tightly to the back.
Dandelion Jelly, or as a friend of mine calls it “Yard Lion Honey” is not your typical seasonal treat. While it is referred to as a jelly, its really much more the consistency of honey or agave syrup. This is the way it really is supposed to be. Dandelion Jelly is a seasonal treat among Amish and Mennonite and truly lives up to the “Use what you have” standard.
My favorite way to use Dandelion Jelly is in tea to replace honey. I also use it on breads and baked goods and with buttered biscuits or in grits. Pretty much anything you think of using honey for, you can use Dandelion Jelly.
4 cups of (packed) dandelion blooms separated from all greens. This is the labor intensive part.
1. Your blooms need to be fully opened and full of “fragrance”. The bigger the bloom the better.
2. NO SPRAYING OF ANYTHING. Blooms must be from an all natural not bug spray, fertilizer spray, weed spray, etc.
3. Blooms must be fresh and separate best within minutes after picking them.
4. NO GREENS are to be left with the bloom “fluff” the greens will be bitter.
4 cups of water
4 cups of sugar
1 box of low sugar natural fruit pectin
Yellow food coloring
A large pot for Jelly Making
5 half-pint canning jars with rings and lids
Water bath canner
Fine strainer tiny, tiny, tiny holes!
After perfectly shredding your dandelion blooms to a bowl of dandelion petals. Measure out 4 cups of petals.
Boil all 4 cups of water in your jelly pot.
We are beginning the process of making your “tea”
Once up to a boil measure ot 2 cups of petals and put directly into the boiling water, stir in.
Let boil for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat, then let steep for 20 to 25 minutes.
With your strainer over a large bowl, pour the water and dandelion petals through the strainer. Press the dandelion mush to get all the water out. The water will look “dirty” it’s supposed. The Dandelion mush can go to your chickens, compost bin or garden.
Put the water back into your Jelly pot and bring back to a boil.
Repeat the process with the next 2 cups of petals.
put petals directly into the boiling water, stir in.
Let boil for about 5 minutes, Take off the heat, then let steep for 20 to 25 minutes.
With your strainer over a large bowl, pour the water and dandelion petals through the strainer. Press the dandelion mush to get all the water out. The water will look “dirty” it’s supposed.
Put 3 cups of water BACK into your Jelly Pot and bring to a boil.
I personally use any extra tea to add to kombucha brewing or save for the next batch of dandelion jelly.
Add in your 4 cups of sugar and the pectin and bring to a boil. (I actually use 2/3 of a cup of natural pectin which I get in bulk from an Amish store instead of using mass produced boxed pectin).
Have your candy thermometer in your liquid.
When your thermometer gets to 250 degrees F, start your timer for 7 minutes.
If you start foaming (and you will) add a pat of real whole butter as with any jam to deaden the foam.
Once your time is up, remove the liquid from the heat.
Add in 2 to 3 drops of yellow food color to intensify the golden color (the more pollen in the blooms the brighter the color will be).
CANNING & PRESERVING
As with anything made in season, its nice to stock up during God’s bountiful season, so you will want to preserve for the months when dandelions no longer bloom in mass amounts.
Prepare your water bath or steam canner as directed.
This recipe makes 5 half-pints of jelly so sterilize and prepare 5 half-pints, I usually have 1 or 2 4 ounce jars “just in case” ready to go as well.
Prepare your lids and make sure you have good fitting rings.
While your canner is getting ready fill your jars with the jelly leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Wipe down the rims of the jars with a wet warm towel.
Place your rings on your jars.
Tightly screw on the rings (not like Samson tight, but nice and tight).
Once your canner is ready, place your jars in the canner.
Water Bath or Steam Can for 15 minutes.
Remove from the canner and let rest for 24 hours.
Hearing that wonderful “POP!” letting you know that the jar is sealed, should happen fairly soon after the jars leave their hot canner.
Let your jars rest for 24 hours before storing in a cool place like your basement pantry.
I hope you enjoy this new seasonal treat and it finds a regular spot in your home pantry.