- Prep time 8 hours 50 minutes
- makes 5 1/2 half-pint jars
This conserve, which is a sort of jam/marmalade hybrid with dried fruit and nuts, tastes like carrot cake in a jar. You can make it anytime and store it away to open up whenever you need a heady dose of warmly-spiced carrots, rum-raisins, walnuts, coconut, pineapple, and citrus. This might seem like a real project if you’re not a seasoned preserver, but the recipe is split up into manageable steps, making it easy to fit into a busy week.
This conserve makes a bowl of oatmeal extra special and really shines sandwiched between molasses cookies, but we all know carrot cake’s main squeeze is cream cheese. Savor it dolloped on a thick slice of toasted brioche slathered with cream cheese for a quick but decadent snack. For a dinner party, serve it atop cream cheese-based panna cotta or mousse.
Note: If you don’t want to properly can the conserve, no problem. You can skip Steps 4 and 6, just use clean containers with airtight lids and transfer the conserve to the refrigerator after cooling to room temperature—the conserve will keep at least 6 months in the refrigerator. That said, I encourage you to try my easy inversion method, detailed in the recipe below. After pouring the hot conserve into hot jars, you’ll briefly invert them before letting them cool. Check that they’re properly sealed by removing the ring band and picking them up by the snap lid before storing in the cupboard (if any jars don’t pass this test, just store them in the refrigerator.) I’m confident you’ll find a little effort is nothing in comparison to the feeling of knowing you have a cache of carrot cake flavor socked away to savor at your leisure.
large lemons, divided
3 1/2 cups
finely shredded carrots (from about 5 medium carrots), loosely packed
finely chopped pineapple (or canned, crushed and well-drained)
coarsely chopped raw walnuts
unsweetened shredded coconut
- Quarter the orange and 1 lemon lengthwise, trimming the ends and discarding any seeds. Slice each quarter crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Place the sliced citrus in a small or medium pot, cover with 5 1/2 cups of water, then cover the pot. In a half-pint jar, combine the raisins and rum, then seal the jar with an airtight lid. Leave both to soak at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 24.
- The next day, remove the cover from the pot of sliced citrus and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the peels are very tender and about two-thirds of the water has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
- Juice the remaining 2 lemons (you should have about 5 tablespoons) into a large, wide heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in the soaked citrus (and water) and the rum-soaked raisins, both of the sugars, carrots, pineapple, walnuts, coconut, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. (This mixture can also be combined in a lidded bowl or container and refrigerated for up to 1 week before cooking.)
- Heat oven to 250°F and have ring bands and new snap lids nearby. Place 6 clean half-pint (8-ounce) jars on a rimmed sheet pan and transfer to the oven. Heat the jars for at least 20 minutes before filling.
- Bring the carrot mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil, stirring often, until the surface is glossy and covered in large, rhythmic bubbles, and the consistency is thickened but still runny (similar to a canned apple pie filling), 30 to 45 minutes—this can vary depending on pan size and stovetop. Test the conserve for doneness by putting a teaspoon of it on a plate in the freezer. After 2 minutes, it should have formed a skin that will wrinkle when prodded.
- Immediately (and carefully) pour the conserve into the hot jars to within 1/4- to 1/8-inch of the rim. (If any jar is not filled this high, cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator—see Author Notes for more storage information.) Wipe the rims clean, then top with snap lids and ring bands. Using a kitchen towel or potholders to grip the hot jars, seal as tightly as you can, then invert jars onto the sheet pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip right-side up and let jars sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for 24 hours.
- After ensuring the jars are sealed (see Author Notes), label each with recipe name and date. Store somewhere cool, dark, and dry, where they will keep for at least 1 year. Once opened, refrigerate for up to 6 months.