Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cherry Conserve

Don't you love cherries? Fresh cherries are here and gone in a matter of 2 or 3 weeks. I found them at the Grove St Farmers' Market on Monday and bought as much as I could carry. Ort Farms had a table of early stone fruits, along with the cherries, there were two varieties of plums and some peaches. Truth to tell, the cherries were grown in Washington state. Ort Family Farms is located in Long Valley NJ and has family friendly activities and offers a CSA program too.  They sell at several other markets around here.

I've been wanting to make a conserve. Here is how the Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving describes it: "Conserves are jams garnished with nuts... and sometimes with dried fruits." This is their recipe for Cherry Hazelnut Conserve, adjusted slightly, substituting pineapple for the orange.

2 lbs of sweet cherries, about 3 baskets
2 ½ cups of sugar
½ lemon
1/2 lb pineapple
1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped
¼ teaspoon citric acid

1. Wash and pit the cherries, yielding 4 cups.
2. Wash the lemon and remove the yellow rind, slicing it into very thin pieces.Discard the white rind and chop the lemon pulp.
3. Chop the pineapple coarsely, about 1/3 cup
4. Mix all the fruit with the sugar, and let it stand for a few hours or overnight. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Taste the mixture for balance of sweet and tart, and if it is not tart enough, add the citric acid.
Homemade Cherry-Pineapple Conserve
5. Pour the fruit and juice into a tall stockpot. Bring to a rapid boil of high heat. Set the time for 15 minutes. As it cooks, the water evapor-ates and the foam rises threateningly in the pot. 
6. Stir to prevent scorching and lower the heat slightly if the jam is sticking. Observe when the color darkens and the liquid becomes syrupy and shiny. 
7. Turn off the heat and pour in the chopped hazelnuts.
8. Stir steadily 4-5 minutes, to release more steam and distribute the fruit and nuts evenly.
9. Ladle into hot jars, wipe the rims, adjust the lids and rings, and process 10 minutes in a water bath canner. Yields four halfpint jars.

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