Spiced Winter Cranberry Conserve

Winter Cranberry Conserve
Winter Cranberry Conserve

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  But, the gift giving part of it isn't really my thing.  Yes, I love getting gifts for my kids and niece and nephews.  Kids are always fun to buy for.  But it's the adults that are harder.  I stopped buying gifts for my dad and sibs a long time ago.  Instead, I opted to make things for them.  In the past I've made quilts, beeswax candles, and of course, christmasy desserts!  This year, since my family is so spread apart, I decided to do something that was a little easier to ship in the mail.  When I came across this recipe, I thought it would be perfect.  And boy, is it ever!

Winter Cranberry Conserve
Winter Cranberry Conserve

This conserve is so amazing.  It's perfect spread over warm brie, toast, or even eaten with a spoon.  This conserve is filled with warming spices, a splash of rum, chopped walnuts, dried apricots and of course, fresh cranberries.  And it's a lot simpler to cook than I originally thought it was going to be.  And then you can can it in cute jars, tie with a ribbon and you have your christmas gifts taken care of!  You still have plenty of time to make this if you have a few adults that need gifts.  Perhaps a cute little basket with this conserve, cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine.  I know I'd be ecstatic to receive something like that!

Winter Cranberry Conserve

Spiced Winter Cranberry Conserve

Yield: about 10 half pints*

  • 8 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1 cup walnuts, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum


Fill your canner with water and sterilize jars and lids. 

Meanwhile, place a small plate in your freezer (this will be when you need to check the consistency of the conserve later on).

In a large pot, combine the cranberries, orange juice, sugar, ground cardamom and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.  Boil for about 10 minutes, then stir in the apples, walnuts and apricots. 

Return to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Cook, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened.  To check if the conserve is ready, place a small amount on the plate in the freezer.  Run your finger through the middle.  If it holds the streak, and the sides don't run back in, then the conserve is ready.  If not, continue to cook, checking the consistency on the plate every 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the ground ginger and rum.  Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks.  Ladle the hot conserve into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Wipe the rims and adjust the tops.  Place the filled jars into the canner.  Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove the jars from the canner and place on a hand towel folded on the counter. 

If you there is not enough room in your canner for all the jars, then sterilize more jars after the first batch is done.  Heat the conserve over low heat, stirring frequently, until warm again.  Fill jars and proceed as before.

Let sit for 24 hours before labeling and moving.  If any jars have not sealed, then place in the refrigerator.  


*You can easily cut this recipe in half if 10 half-pints is more than you want.

** If you are not familiar with canning or need to brush up your knowledge, it never hurts to check out the Ball Canning Guide for information and proper techniques

Source: Adapted from Nourish and Nestle

Canning, Christmas, HolidayLydia