This recipe for pear-cranberry conserve will be the perfect addition to scones on Christmas morning, and it can moonlight on your cheese platter later that day too.
Allison says that the addition of ginger really makes the flavors sing, and the almonds provide a chewy crunch. For the best texture, Allison suggests using pears that are still quite firm so that the pear pieces remain intact when cooked. While unsweetened dried fruit is generally preferable in conserves, it’s very difficult to find unsweetened dried cranberries, so feel free to use the sweetened version if that’s what you have available.
Yield: 4 to 5 cups / 4-5 8oz. Jars
Before You Begin: Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
Wondering what calcium water is? Calcium water is a solution of the monocalcium phosphate powder (food-grade rock mineral source) that comes in its own packet with every purchase of Pomona’s Pectin. The Pomona’s Pectin directions tell you how to make calcium water with the calcium powder. Pomona’s Pectin recipes call for calcium water because the pectin is activated by calcium, not by sugar. You can read more about calcium water here.
Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.
Can Your Conserve: Remove jars from canner and ladle jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.
This recipe calls for crystallized ginger—essentially, slices of fresh ginger root that have been cooked and preserved with sugar. Crystallized ginger is easy and quick to chop, so it’s very convenient in recipes. It’s available at Asian markets and at many natural food stores.
If you’d like more recipes from Allison, check out her book, Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin.