Do you know what a conserve is? The best way I can describe it is that it’s jam with nuts in it. This is my Oklahoma State Fair Blue Ribbon Award winning conserve. I’ve waited so long to share only because I haven’t made any in several years. The year I won the ribbon, I was so excited I made many jars….far too many jars and we all kind of burned out on it, but this year the cherries were so beautiful and we had so many pecans from last year’s abundance I could not resist. My mother and her lady friends eat this on biscuits, onto of ice cream and another lady uses it to glaze her ham during Thanksgiving while another heats it up with vinegar, lets it reduce and then drizzles it over baked white fish. There are many ways to use this conserve and I hope you like it!
Cherry Pecan Conserve
1 Cup of roughly chopped pecans
2 lbs. of cherries, washed – you can leave the stems on if you like
4 Cups of Sugar
1 box powdered pectin, if using – I give both instructions.
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
1 large sauce pan
1 food mill or Chinois
1 small sauce pan
1 dozen Half-Pint canning jars, lids and screw tops.
1 tall enamel pan with lid for water bath
Now is the time to de-stem and get the pit out of the cherries if you wish. If you are like me, you just dump it all into a big pot.
Put in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil on medium heat then turn down and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Ladle out cherries and either grind through the food mill or tamp through the Chinois until you have 6 Cups of fruit. If you don’t have enough, then pour the water from the boiling pot through cheesecloth until it is translucent and add to the fruit until it equals 6 cups.
Roughly chop the pecans and toast them in a small skillet.
Thoroughly wash the large sauce pan and dry.
Fill water bath canner to about 2/3 full and set on back burner of stove with medium heat – until it boils then turn it down to a simmer till needed.
Put the fruit, butter and pectin (if using) into the clean large sauce pan and turn heat on high.
Stir constantly until it comes to a hard boil.
Add sugar all at once and commence stirring bringing it back to a boil once more (of 212F if not using pectin) and allow to boil (or stay steady at 212F) for 1 full minute.
Remove pot from burner and stir in pecans.
Using canning funnel and ladle fill jars with jam up to ¼ inch space left at top – no more, no less.
After boiling the flats, put one on top of each jar then screw on lid to finger tip tightness.
Place several in the water bath, turning heat back up to boiling and allow to process for 15 minutes.
Set jars on towel in a non-drafty place for 24 hours.
If you want the pecans evenly distributed, every 30 minutes, turn the jars upside down – leave for 30 minutes and turn jars right side up and so one for about 4 hours.