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1.2.5. Conserves


This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker ericnospam@getcomputing.com with numerous contributions by others.

1.2.5. Conserves

From: Leslie Basel Conserves are multi-fruit preserves, sometimes with
nuts and/or raisins. My grandmother once told me that anything more
than three different fruits in anything is a waste--you can't taste
them all, or they taste like tutti fruitti... But I really like making
conserves--you can do almost any combination of fruits, as long as
they are acid enough (check the FAQ above for general pHs of different
fruits)-- and they're perfect for using up weird amounts of fruit, or
cleaning up the leftovers from different jam projects. I suspect that
name "conserve" is derived from that little operation. So without
further ado, here's my:

Kitchen Sink Conserve 3-4 cup whole strawberries 1 large stalk rhubarb 4
nectarines 3/4 cup raisins 1/2 cup fresh orange juice slivered almonds
(optional) sugar Hull, wash, and mash strawberries. Peel and chop rhubarb.
I like a very fine chop, as it keeps the rhubarb from becoming dental
floss. Pit and chop nectarines. Combine strawberries, rhubarb, nectarines,
orange juice, and raisins. Simmer fruit until tender (strawberry bits will
not be seen in this), then take off the heat, and measure the amount of
fruit/juice. The trick for nearly any conserve recipe: Add sugar to fruit
mixture on a 3/4-1vol:1vol basis. (I got 5 cups of fruit, so I add 4-5 cups
of sugar). And if you add a citrus juice (or even a fruit juice) instead of
water, you add a little extra acid and pectin. Put fruit/sugar mix on high
heat, boil, stir constantly. When it passes the jelly test, add the chopped
nuts, stir and jar it up. I put this hot into sterilized pint jars, so I
boiling waterbath-processed this for 15 minutes. Hot half pints, do this
for 10. (Note, this is for sea level.) If you try this with almonds or any
other kind of nut, be stingy with them. Nuts are not acid, so too many will
invite spoilage. If you like raisins, add as many as you want. Spices are
great, if you have a light touch. Fruits that do not work well in a
conserve of this type: Bananas, they get brown. Soft fruits work alright if
don't expect them to be intact afterward, otherwise they should be added
last, perhaps to float to the top of the jar :-). Figs are tasty in a
conserve, but they are borderline acid, so you need extra citric acid or be
stingy with them. Citrus works okay *with* a little advance planning; you
need to prepare peels like you would in a marmalade (see recipe below). Raw
citrus peels are very bitter and icky. Stone fruits work great, I always
add at least one into a conserve. And its always great to have a few
slightly underripe fruits in the conserve for pectin and acid. So here's a
place where you can be creative, and one-up your grandmother. Who knows
what family recipe you'll brew up?


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