Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pear and Cranberry Conserve

Pears are a quintessential fall fruit.  Fragrant, sweet, and floral, they pair well with another favorite, the tart cranberry.  Combining the two makes perfect sense as they balance one another allowing us to create foods that travel from sweet to savory effortlessly. 

This conserve is the perfect example of this marriage.  Sweet from the pears with just the right bite from cranberries, you can serve this on biscuits or toast, with roasted pork or turkey, or as an alternative to traditional cranberry sauce.  It would make an absolutely fabulous spread on an after-Thanksgiving sandwich of turkey, dressing, and gravy, and it also makes a delicious addition to a vinaigrette for salad greens when mixed with a little vinegar and olive oil.  Better yet, it comes together fairly quickly and easily. 

I used a combination of half-pint jars and 4 oz jelly jars when making this to give myself options for how much to open at once.  If you want to use the smaller 4 oz jars, just process them for the same amount of time as the half-pints. 

Pear and Cranberry Conserve- makes 7 half-pints or 14- 4 oz jars
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Canning

6 large, ripe pears (3 pounds), peeled, cored, and chopped
16 oz fresh cranberries
4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp grated orange zest
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice

Prepare your canner, jars, lids, and rings.

Combine all ingredients in a large non-reactive pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Boil gently, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes until the mixture reaches a thick jam-like consistency.  You can test this by dipping a spoon into the mixture.  If the conserve falls in sheets from the spoon, it is ready.  Alternately, you can chill a plate in the freezer, then place a small amount of conserve onto the cold plate.  It should form a mound and should hold a clean line if you run your finger through it. 

Ladle the hot mixture into hot, sterilized half-pint or 4 ounce jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Wipe the rims of the jars, and place a lid and ring on top of each. 

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.  Remove jars from the canner and allow to cool on a towel for 24 hours.  Check seals, label, and store.

Printable Version

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