Sunday, December 6, 2009

Apple Cranberry Conserve

When I was a child my mother could keep me quiet for a few minutes while peeling an apple or an orange. The reason being she would do it so that the peel was removed in one piece, creating a long spiral. Oranges, mainly clementines I seem to recall, would be able to be reformed into their former shape. Apples were harder to execute and thus, cause for a more rapt audience. Every once in a while it didn't work, which made it all the more exciting. Could she do it? Would she? Isn't that a beautiful thing? That peeling an apple could be such a thing of talent, beauty, and suspense?

That's what I was thinking about when I was peeling all these Ida Red apples, my favorite these days. Yesterday was cold, and snow started falling in the afternoon, the first of the season and not just a dusting. I had bread rising and these apples to cook up; perfect cold weather activities in my book. I had just started some clementine marmalade in a pot, then removing it to a bowl to sit. I didn't clean the pot, just started adding apples to it, so that orange-y syrup could mingle in. This conserve was a total whim, and lucky for me it came out great. Which is not hard when you work with such great ingredients that naturally go well with each other. Note that there is no sugar--it's sweetened only with some juice and a little bit of jelly. We had it in our oatmeal this morning, and it was delicious. It's really gorgeous, rosy pink and studded with golden orbs. I love the fruits of winter.

8 cups of peeled, cored apples, chunky dice
1 cup of cranberries
1 cup of golden raisins
1/2 cup cranberry raspberry juice (any juice with no added sugar would be fine)
1/4 cup crystallized ginger
2 tbsp. of grape jelly (I used this niagara grape jelly I made, adding sweetness and gloss)
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

Simmer for an hour until apples are softened. When you pull a wooden spoon through the bottom of the pan and there is no water forming at the edges, and the sides don't close immediately, you can call it done. Ladle into mason jars and seal. Once cool, keep in the fridge. I am sure these could be processed but I didn't choose to. I know I'll eat it too quickly.


  1. You will totally have to take part in the jam exchange next summer, this looks delicious!! :D You'll just have to process a few to send :)

  2. I look forward to it! You had a great selection this past one--so many wonderfully different concoctions!