Provisioning the boat always leads to a few impulse purchases, usually of treats to pull out of a locker at a later date. On one shopping trip for this sail, though, I ended up with a bag of Maine cranberries. I couldnâ€™t resist them. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever cooked with fresh cranberries and they marked a transition from Maine summer produce to fall and winter foods.
That bag of cranberries has been shuffling around the boatâ€™s fridge since we left. I had a plan for it, though. I found a recipe for Cranberry Conserve in my canning cookbook that sounded like a perfect way to preserve my impulse-buy cranberries and give us something festive to enjoy around the holidays.
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving defines conserve as â€œluscious combinations of fresh and dried fruit and nuts, cooked to create a thick, sweet spread with a varied texture.â€ Yum! I know. It sounded like a winner to me.
I halved the recipe, since I have a limited supply of jars and there werenâ€™t quite enough cranberries to make a full batch. My half batch was a bit too much for two, 8 oz jars, maybe because I didnâ€™t let enough water evaporate by leaving the lid off early in the cooking process. I opted for almonds as my nut.
This conserve has a gorgeous, bright cranberry color and the orange peel and almonds add festive colors to the jars. The spread is definitely sweet and tastes similar to cranberry sauce. It has a slight citrus flavor from the orange and fun crunch from the almonds. The texture is very thick – perfect for spreading – or, as Lee did this morning, plopping on top of your oatmeal.
This is my Fall Fest recipe for todays celebration of â€œThe mad stashâ€. Visit A Way to Garden to find out more.
From the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Makes about 4 8-ounce jars
1 orange (un-peeled), seeded and finely chopped
2 cups water
4 cups cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Prepare canner jars and lids.
Combine orange and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Cover partially, and boil gently until the peel is tender (5 min. or so).
Add cranberries, raisins, and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Return to a boil over medium-high heat and boil hard, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens (10-15 minutes).
Stir in nuts and cook, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and test gel. If the mixture gels, skim off foam.
Ladle hot conserve into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace.
Wipe rims, center lids on jars, and tighten to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, covering them completely with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes.
Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars and leave them to cool completely.