Pear Ambrosia Conserve


When I got ready to can one last batch for gift-giving this year, I wanted to use some of the fruit I put by this summer and fall. I found a lovely ambrosia conserve recipe in my Ball Book, but it called for pineapple. We don’t grow pineapple around here. But I’ve got pints and pints of frozen pears!
Be careful making substitutions in canning recipes. Unless you’re an expert yourself, consult experienced canners and canning guides before making any changes in a tested recipe. A good place to find an expert is here or here. I’m not an expert. I consulted expert sources in making changes to this recipe to confirm that pears were acidic enough to be substituted in this recipe. Pineapple has a pH of 3.2 to 4.1, while pears are 3.5 to 4.6. As long as the pH is 4.6 or lower, the acidity is high enough to be safely canned in a hot water bath. Because there are some differences in pears, I added lemon juice to the recipe to ramp up the pH even further. (Perhaps unnecessarily, but it doesn’t hurt the flavor and adds a safety net. I’m all for going above and beyond in the interest of safe canning!)

You can find a pH and acid chart here that is quite helpful.

If you’re new to canning, see my tutorial on hot water bath canning. There are additional canning resources at the bottom of that post for more expert information on canning.

For my ambrosia, I also switched the slivered almonds in the original recipe for chopped walnuts, and added the pectin. The last time I made a conserve with frozen, thawed fruit, I had trouble getting it to gel. I ended up with more of a compote than a conserve. Still good, but not what I was after. Frozen, thawed fruit that has been previously cooked (these pears were frozen in a syrup pack) is a bit more “liquidy” than fresh fruit. If you’re using fresh pears in this recipe, you can get away without the pectin.

Get everything chopped, measured, and prepped in advance. Canning goes fast once you start!

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How to make Pear Ambrosia Conserve:

4 cups pears, sliced in small pieces
1/3 cup grated orange peel
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1 package pectin
1 cup coconut
1 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Combine pears, orange peel and juice, and lemon juice in a large pot. Simmer 10 minutes. Add sugar and pectin.
Cook rapidly, stirring, until almost the gelling point. You can add a smidge of butter to keep it from foaming. Conserve should round up on the spoon when it’s ready. Remove from heat and stir in coconut, cherries, and walnuts. Ladle hot conserve into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles.
Adjust lids and bands. Process 15 minutes in a hot water bath. This recipe makes about 7 half-pints (or so). I used a few different sized jars and also had one that I couldn’t fill all the way so I put it in the fridge. I get to keep that one. Yay!)

Conserves are similar in consistency to jams but include combinations of fruits and often raisins or nuts. You can spread conserve on toast or spoon it over french toast or pancakes, pound cake, ice cream, yogurt, or anything else you like. You could make pear ambrosia biscuit twists or pear ambrosia coffee cake. (That sounds so good!!! You would just replace the jam and apple butter in those recipes with the pear ambrosia conserve.) It’s a wonderfully delicious and versatile gift. The perfect treat!
(That’s more of my popcorn, cranberries, and dried orange slices I’ve been stringing into garlands for the Christmas tree.)

I know what Georgia will do when I give this conserve to her. She’ll get a spoon and eat it right out of the jar. I just love 80-year-old ladies. They know how to live!

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on December 16, 2009  

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51 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 12-16

    AND THATS EXACTLY HOW I WOULD WANT TO EAT IT TOO…YUMMY! I want to be your neighbor..what a treat! I too have been making neighbor treats..come say hi :D

  2. 12-16

    I would eat that right out of the jar too….and I am half her age :) That looks delicious and so festive!

  3. 12-16

    That looks so good. I wont be making this anytime soon as I still have not started my holiday candies and cookies and breads and I just started working Monday so time is not on my side this year. But one day I will be more organized and be able to do more.

  4. 12-16

    How beautiful! And I’m sure it tastes just as awesome as it looks… yum!

  5. 12-16

    I like thi idea of the pear coffee cake. Or,spread some on a slice of pound cake or..a bite right out of the jar!

  6. 12-16

    YUM! Here comes another 10 lbs. :? I need some diet recipes after the holidays! Do you have any?

  7. 12-16

    The color is fantastic — it would be beautiful on pound cake or angel cake! Nummy!

  8. 12-16

    Su, I’m hoping the “Ornary Angel”, gets a gift basket.

  9. 12-16

    I have to agree that the appearance of your Pear Ambrosia looks incredible. What a great presentation to any gift basket. It gives the impression of being yummy and comforting at just a glance. Merry Christmas!

  10. 12-16

    Too complicated for this beginner but I’ll keep the recipe here for future reference. My big goal this summer is to can all the tomatoes I can grow. God Bless You Suzanne for starting my days with goodness.

  11. 12-16

    Looks beautiful and will make a great gift! I would put it on fresh baked sour cream biscuits! Yum!Yum!

    Is the Blue Ball book give away still going on? I would like it.

  12. 12-16

    Suzanne, I think you mean you want to add lemon juice to ramp DOWN the pH! The lower the pH, the more acidic; the higher the pH, the less acidic. No problem — I’m sure your conserve is fabulous!

  13. 12-16

    :hungry: Just kidding about the DIET RECIPES! YUCK! You come up with the most fabulous ideas here!! Keep it comming :happyflower:

  14. 12-16

    those jars of conserve are beautiful. I want one :eating:

  15. 12-16

    Thank goodness I can live vicariously through you. :sun:

  16. 12-16

    Anyone else having a problem with their browser and/or this site? Every time I try to visit I get a message that is being reported as an “attack site”. I un-check the “block attack sites” box then log-on and it works just fine. It is reporting malware being installed. Has never happened before and I just visited here yesterday from this very computer.

  17. 12-16

    :woof: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:
    That looks wonderful.
    I think Georgia should get 2 jars, one for now, and the other for later.
    :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:

  18. 12-16

    That sounds so yummy! I make a jam with oranges, pineapples, and cherries. The conserve would be a great alternative, I love the idea of using pears their usually cheaper than pineapple. My sons favorite fruit are pears, I may need to try this. It looks like sunshine in a jar.

  19. 12-16

    Today is the day! I’ve got my second hand jars washed, canner and utensils ready, and all my ingredients on hand. I’m going to can for the first time today. Not the conserve….just grape jelly made from store bought juice….you gotta start somewhere! Wish me luck.

    I too had a notification of malware yesterday, but I didn’t have any trouble since or before…I come here everyday.

  20. 12-16

    Oh Yum! I wish I was your friend :)

  21. 12-16

    I get the message of malware when I log in using firefox. Now I’m on IE and had no problem. Someone on the facebook site said it’s only Google that is reporting this.

    That conserve looks absolutely scrumtious! I think I love looking at the jars just as much as I would love eating it.

  22. 12-16

    My site was hacked. I apologize for any inconvenience today. Everything has now been corrected and thoroughly cleaned up. (It may take a while for Google to pick up the correction and stop saying it’s an attack site….)

  23. 12-16

    Suzanne, it looks delicious and so beautiful in the jar. I’ve asked for a pressure cooker for Christmas and can’t wait to try some of your recipes.

    Peace and Puppies,

    Susan at Charm of the Carolines

  24. 12-16

    Since I’m new to canning, I had no idea you had to watch for substitutions. Thanks for letting me know, Suzanne! I usually willy nilly substitute any ol’ thing I have on hand in recipes.

  25. 12-16

    P.S. Sorry to hear your site was attack, Suzanne. I’ve gone through that myself, and it’s no fun. Hang in there.

  26. 12-16

    I had the Attack Site message too and wrote you before I saw it had been fixed. Google continues to report it as an issue, and now says 2 sites were affected (a couple minutes ago it was one). I guess they need to do some more updates. Some people have too much time on their hands — they should get a farm.

  27. 12-16

    So sorry to hear the site was attacked. I got the same message about it being an attack site and had a panic attack thinking I wouldn’t be able to read my favorite blog, then figured out how to get around it and here I am lol. The conserve looks absolutely yummy. Wish I had the stuff to can with. Ahhhhh maybe next year hehe.

  28. 12-16

    Suzanne, Thanks for your update on your site. I’ve been getting the same scary messages and I’m using FireFox. Switched to Safari and it works. Why would anyone hack YOUR site? Don’t they have better things to do? What were they expecting to do, change your Grandmother Bread recipe?

    Also, noticed a lot of ads (Lego, Sprint, HP, Lincoln Mercury, Amazon, etc.) while visiting your site via Safari. Are these normal??? Do you sell banner ad space? I use AdBlocker in FireFox and wouldn’t have seen them in the past.


  29. 12-16

    Hey, Suzanne. While cooking your bounty of pears, keep in mind that on the Texas coast they are on sale three for a dollar!
    (I am envious.)

  30. 12-16

    Suzanne, how awful of hackers to invade the tranquility of this space. I think we need some pear ambrosia conserve to make us feel better. And a puppy. Maybe a few cats and Jack, too. We need to think about all the cuteness at your place.

    There, all better. Not going to let some hacker mess with the Chickens universe!

  31. 12-16

    You don’t grow pineapple? You should! It’s easy and fun. I like house plants that grow food. Here’s an article about growing “free” pineapples: Garbage Gardening: Grow a Pineapple Fruit Tree Plant!

    I have two of them right now. My sister got me a pineapple plant (already fruiting) from last year. When I harvested the fruit, I cut the top off and planted it. I left the mother plant on the back deck all summer, and when I finally went to dump the pot this fall, I discovered there was a baby “pup” in the pot. Both plants are growing great in front of my living room window right now.

    I also have four dwarf citrus trees and a dwarf banana tree! The cool thing about the citrus trees is that they bloom in late fall/winter. It’s so nice to come in from shoveling snow to a house that smells like orange blossoms!

  32. 12-16

    I am so glad to be back here! I could not get on since last night when my virus thingy caught a Trojan virus from here. I do detest nasty hackers!!! “””May a million fleas infest their armpits”””!

    Anyway, I too could not get on this morning, needless to say I panicked! Sent an email to Suzanne in a frenzy…almost couldn’t drink my morning coffee!

    But now all is well!!! I plan on making this when I get enough pears…or perhaps apples would work!


  33. 12-16

    Google Chrome and Firefox are still both reporting this as an attack site. Used IE and it worked fine. I agree with Deb about the fleas!! LOL Too bad mean rooster isn’t around to set them straight! :hissyfit:

  34. 12-16

    Suzanne, I am new to your web site, but love it already. This article made me jump back and read about “Driving Ms Georgia”. You’ve made me miss my Mother, my Grandmother and my Aunt Betty all with one story!

    Your newest fan,

  35. 12-16

    I’m here using goggle chrome

  36. 12-16

    It takes some time for the block to clear from Google, unfortunately. Some people are able to get through. You can try refreshing your browser.

  37. 12-16

    Mmm, that looks good. :hungry:
    Oh, I hope you got my email. :snowman:

  38. 12-16

    I’m here using Goggle Chrome; still a warning but can get around it. Can’t with Firefox. Now to find my cookie recipe that I wanted this morning.

  39. 12-16

    My avatar worked! Couldn’t figure it out last week and gave up. It’s truly a miracle. LOL

  40. 12-16

    :woof: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:
    Suzanne, re. yesterdays post. I went to Walmart today and purchased an electric knife ($9.88) I had to ask were they were located, the gal took me to the item and she said that she was surprized at the sudden increase of sales of the Black and Decker elecrtic knives.
    I said to her– ” well, you see, there is this little gal who has a farm in WV and writes this wonderful blog and,”–she ask for the name of the website so she could visit as well.

    :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:

  41. 12-16

    Good one Deb.–armpits are a good place–too!

  42. 12-16

    Oh geez, Suzanne, I bet you got a lot of emails about the hacker! :lol: Poor lady, not only do you run a farm but you have to keep all of us from going into withdrawals! :smilerabbit:

    I still couldn’t visit with Firefox. I am now using IE.

  43. 12-16

    Those look beautiful, absolutely beautiful!!!

  44. 12-16

    I got the message about this being an attack site and I thought bad rooster had come back and finally took over.

  45. 12-16

    Wow! Sounds like something bad happened here today! Here I am typing at almost 10:00 pm when everything seems patched up. I’m on Firefox and it’s all fine. I’m only a teen and even though I’m a computer wiz, I haven’t heard of these nasty attack things :whip: . Anyways, glad it’s over! By the way, would go great on homemade bread! :D

  46. 12-16

    I mean THAT RECIPE would go great on homemade bread! :D

  47. 12-16

    Firefox is working now. No warnings. :sheepjump:

  48. 12-17

    I made some conserve using a large can of pears that I purchased at the resturant supply–it worked very well!

  49. 8-7

    this sounds exotic…like something I want to find on my cupboard shelf or to be known for giving out to a few friends. I’m wondering about the coconut…my packaged coconut has sugar & a couple other bizare sounding ingredients added to it, is this what you used or will this alter the results? Maybe I need to buy a raw coconut to get the corect results?

  50. 8-7

    Drucilla, I used packaged coconut!

  51. 7-13

    It never occurred to me to make use of excess pears I have in my garden. Thank you for the tip. Do you know how many calories that pear ambrosia have?

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