Thursday, December 13, 2012

Consumable Gifts (Countdown to Christmas): Super Cranberry Conserve (gluten, corn, refined sugar free)


So, you might ask, what exactly is a conserve?  A conserve is a jam like concoction made with fresh and dried fruits and nuts.  They're known for their varied texture due to the nuts and dried fruits used in their making.  What I like about them is that they are a great way to pack of a lot of items that have nutritional value (like nuts) into a thick sweet spread that goes well on toast and things and kids will eat it up without knowing that they just consumed things that have nutritional value to them.

My favorite way to use this particular spread is on top of some crunchy toast or on some really crispy rice crackers with goat cheese.  Totally yummy!

I tweaked the traditional way to do conserves to use double cranberries in this (dried as well as fresh) instead of using the traditional raisins called for in conserve recipes, so I started calling it "Super Cranberry Conserve" instead of just "Cranberry Conserve" (yeah, I know, my brilliance glows 40 watts bright ;).

If you want not-so-big chunks of orange in this just run the orange through the food processor.  It makes quick work of the orange and gives the orange an almost relish texture to it.
Super Cranberry Conserve (gluten, corn, refined sugar free)
  • 1 unpeeled orange, seeded and chopped fine (I used a seedless navel orange for this)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries (I used home made ones)
  • 3 cups Turbinado (or just use white granulated sugar)
  • 2 TBS maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used fresh shelled pecans)
1.  Prepare canner, jars and lids.

2.  In a deep non-reactive saucepan, combine orange and water.  Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium, partially cover and cook until peel is tender, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add cranberries (dried and fresh), maple syrup and sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved and then boil over medium high heat until mixture thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.

4.  Stir in nuts and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and lift spoon out of mixture.  If mixture clings to spoon the mixture has reached gel stage and is ready.  Skim off foam.

5.  Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.   Remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if necessary by adding more hot conserve to jar.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar and screw down band until finger tight.

6.  Place jars in a hot water bath canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Process for 15 minutes, turn off heat and let jars sit an additional 5 minutes.  Remove to a tea towel to cool completely.  Test seal.  Any jars that are not sealed should be stored in fridge and used immediately.

Makes about 4, 8 oz. jars.

Jazz up with a pretty label, wrap up with some of your recipient's favorite crackers and you got a cool gift idea.

Enjoy!

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