I started out to make spiced pear jam, but I had half an orange on the counter, and a container of candied cherries that really needed to be used. The result is Pear Conserve.
Why "conserve" instead of preserves or jam? A conserve is considered to be a combination of fruits cooked with sugar to preserve them. A preserve is made with whole fruit, while a jam is made with cut or mashed fruits. Since I used pears, oranges and cherries in this experiment, I decided it was a conserve. It sounds more elegant, anyway!
Here's what I used:
4 cups of peeled, cored and finely chopped pears (the type of hand chopper often used for onions worked great for this)
1/4 cup chopped, candied cherries
1/2 orange (juice and rind)
1 box fruit pectin
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Prepare and measure the pears into a large saucepan. (If there is little juice, add 1/4 cup of water.)
Squeeze the juice out of the orange and into the pears in the saucepan.
Grate or zest the orange's peel into the mixture. Add the chopped cherries, spices and pectin and heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
Add the sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.
Cook to a full rolling boil. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir and skim off foam for 5 minutes.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Clean jar rims carefully, put on lids and turn upside down for twenty minutes to aid the sealing process.
Return to upright position, tighten lids and check for seal as the jars cool.
I got 7 half pint jars per batch. A nice yield for little work.
This would make a nice hostess gift during the holidays, wouldn't it? Cut a round of holiday fabric or gingham to cover the lid, add a pretty label and some ribbon to "wrap" this gift.