OK, the freesia is in bud and the orange tree covered with blossoms. But it’s cold and rainy here in San Diego, and my thoughts turn towards summer, especially summer fruit. I love this old-fashioned recipe, “My Mother’s Cherry-Raspberry Conserve” . Basically, a conserve is a simple chutney with nuts, something you can whip up and serve along with a fish or chicken entrée. As an alternative, stir some into softened cream cheese for a snack with crackers or crisp veggies.
There will be no fresh, local sweet cherries in the stores or markets until June, perhaps. I decided to experiment by using a bag of frozen sweet cherries from Trader Joe’s. Fresh raspberries are always available and I added grated fresh ginger root for some snap. The framboise is optional, of course, but adds a nice depth of flavor to the conserve.
My mother only made this in the height of summer in eastern Pennsylvania. I still remember opening the family fridge and wanting to dive into all that glorious fruit, especially the raspberries, our favorite fruit.
Yields 4 cups
- 2 cups fresh or frozen sweet cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup fresh red raspberries
- 1 navel orange
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups white sugar
- zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Framboise (raspberry liqueur)
1. Thaw the cherries, if using frozen fruit.
2. Using a medium-sized pot, mash the cherries and allow them to cook over medium-low heat until tender.
3. Add the dried cherries and fresh raspberries. Cook over low heat until mixture begins to thicken.
4. Chop the orange, including the peel, into medium dice pieces. Add to mixture.
5. Add the walnuts, sugar, lemon zest and juice and the ginger. Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 15 minutes.
6. Off the heat, stir in the framboise.
7. Store in fridge or ladle into sterile jars according to safe canning procedures. Place jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.