If you read my blog last week, you saw just how much leftover fruit I had from my Italian Abbodanza dinner party. The great thing about using fresh fruit as a part of a tablescape is that you can reuse it, unlike pricey flowers. I had bushels of pears and grapes to use up, so I got to thinking about different ways to use them…
Most people think of Summer as jamming season, with so much fleeting fruit in season. But I think Fall and Winter fruits are just as jam-worthy! Pears, apples, and citrus all make great jams, jellies, and conserves. Meyer lemon marmalade, anyone?! Yum.
I decided to make the pears the star of the recipe, and transform them into a conserve sweetened only with grape juice. If you’ve ever made jam before, you know how scary the amount of added sugar can be! Isn’t fruit sweet on it’s own?! The warm flavors of cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon make this conserve perfect during the cold months. A little dash of cayenne helps spice things up. I’ve been into adding a little kick of spice to sweet recipes these days!
Below is the recipe for this fabulous conserve. It will make your house smell like heaven! Spread it on toast, stir it into plain yogurt, or even serve it with ice cream. It’s good on almost everything. Enjoy!
Sugar-Free Pear and Grape Conserve
*5lbs of Assorted Pears
*2 TBSP of Meyer Lemon Juice (or regular lemon)
*2 Cups of Grape Juice
*1 Cup of Water
*1 tsp Vanilla Extract
*2 TBSP of Grated Fresh Ginger
*1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
*Small Piece of Cheesecloth
*2 Cinnamon Sticks
*5 Cardamom Pods
Begin by filling a large bowl with cold water then add 1 TBSP of Meyer lemon juice.
Peel each pear then place into the lemon water (this will prevent the pears from oxidizing and browning).
Once all the pears are peeled, core and chop them into small pieces. Toss them with the remaining Meyer lemon juice.
In a large pot add the grape juice, water, and vanilla extract. Heat just to a simmer and reduce by half (this will take approximately 10 minutes). The mixture should taste very sweet.
Once the grape juice is reduced by half, add the chopped pears, grated ginger, ground cinnamon, and the pinch of cayenne. Place the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods in the cheesecloth and tie it into a small package. Place the package in the pot with the pears.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook on the stove top for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn’t stick and burn on the bottom of the pot. At the end of the hour, taste the mixture – it should be thick and delectably sweet!
Pull out the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pod package and pour the conserve into your desired storage container. Enjoy!!