Cranberry (sauce) Conserve

I have been enjoying what is left of the Cranberry “sauce” that I made for Thanksgiving. It turns out it is more of a conserve or whole-fruit jam vs. a sauce. 

Over a hunk of a crusty french loaf.

Over a hunk of a crusty french loaf.

A conserve or whole-fruit jam is basically stewed fruit.  The cooking time is shorter than the time for a regular jam, so not as much natural pectin is released from the fruit to “jell” the fruit.  It does thicken up quite nicely, though.  It is thick, but not as thick as a fruit butter (which is actually pressed through a sieve for a smooth fruit spread).  Plenty thick enough to spread over a warm slice or hunk of fresh bread. 

One 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries, 3 large, seedless oranges and honey to taste are all I put in this concoction.  Rinse and sort through the cranberries, discarding any that don’t look right and removing any stems that remain.  Pour them into a large saucepan.  Juice the oranges, scraping out some of the pulp right into the saucepan.  One trick I learned (I think from Rachael Ray) about juicing citrus fruits:  set the fruit out to warm up a bit to room temperature or pop in the microwave for about 30 seconds-after poking a hole or two through the peel to prevent an exploding orange or lemon-then roll the fruit on the counter with the heel of your hand to break up the pulp, easing the juicing process.  When I juice an orange (or lemon or lime), I use a flat wooden spatula.  Cut the orange in half, insert the spatula into  the center of one half and squeeze the orange while pressing the sides of the orange.  Then press/scrape some of the pulp out with the spatula.  I scraped some pulp out of 2 of the oranges and most out of the 3rd.  Finally, the honey.  Honey is an excellent sweetener for this.  The smooth sweetness derived from honey counteracts the tartness of the cranberries.  A honey with floral notes adds another dimension altogether.  Clover honey is the most common variety found in  grocery stores, but you may also find orange blossom honey or plum or lavender.  Mmmm.  Anyway, I started with about a 1/4 cup of honey and added more through the cooking process as needed.  It all depends on how tart you like your cranberries.  Once all was in the saucepan, I stirred together on medium-high heat until the cranberries started to burst.  The mixture also started to simmer/boil at this point.  I turned the heat down to low-medium and cooked about 20-25 more minutes, stirring frequently.  The mixture will slowly drip from a spoon held vertically.  As it is hot, it will thicken up even more as it cools.  Start checking the thickness around 15 minutes-if it cooks too long, it will become juicy and therefore runny.  You don’t want a runny conserve.  You want it nice and thick for those slices of bread, ham, turkey, pork or whatever. 

I’m going to play with this recipe some more.  See what else I can pair with the cranberries.  I’m imagining a cranberry/mango chutney glaze over ham or a pork tenderloin…

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

About smokinchick

Love to use my grill and cook over a fire!

Posted on December 7, 2012, in Other, Recipe and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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