I started making this particular recipe during my college years, and it has become my tradition to make it EVERY Thanksgiving since! (I love it that much, and it's become one of my trademark dishes with the family!)
A conserve is basically a whole fruit jam and/or preserves made from a mixture of fruits and/or vegetables that can include dried fruits and nuts. Now, in this case, I tend to cook mine awhile to make it really thick and rich, and infuse that incredible cinnamon flavor. I also like to add in the different mixture of fresh and dried fruits to add a lot of depth in flavor and texture to the conserve. This is so easy to make, and a great "do ahead" dish for the holidays. Plus, this lasts quite awhile afterwards, so it's incredible to use on sandwiches, toast, appetizers, or even as a component in a dip or sauce, or in your holiday desserts as well! (So many uses!) The fruit is always sweet on it's own, so I always try not to over do it on the addition of sugar. You can adjust the sweetness to your taste, and can also add your own combination of fruits as well! (I leave out the nuts in mine, but feel free to add some almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc. if you wish!)
Yield: About 6- 8 cups **Cut recipe in half if you wish to make smaller amount
Cooking Time: 1 1/2- 2 hours
2 bags (24oz.) of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 apples (peeled and chopped) **Use a nice firm and crisp apple: Granny Smith, Braeburn, Macintosh, etc.
1 cup frozen cherries (or can use 1/2 cup dried)
1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped)
1/2 cup raisins (golden or regular)
zest and juice of 1 orange
zest and juice of 1 lemon
**1/4 - 1/2 cup additional sugar
**Optional: 1 cup of chopped nuts (toasted for extra flavor)
1) Rinse your cranberries, and place them in a large pot, almost covering them with water. (Roughly 4 cups of water.) Add the sugar and cinnamon sticks, and give it a stir. Place on medium/high heat. When the cranberries begin to "pop" and simmer, turn the heat down to medium or low.
2) Add in the apples, cherries, apricots, raisins, and the zest and juice of the lemon and orange. Stir occasionally, and allow the mixture to reduce. After about an hour of cooking, check the sweetness, and add more sugar if necessary. When the liquid has been greatly reduced, remove from heat, and allow to cool.
**The conserve will thicken even more once cooled.
Store in an airtight container, and serve chilled.
**Lasts up to about 30 days refrigerated. Can freeze as well!