Food Swapping and Apple Cranberry Conserve

Have you ever participated in a food swap? This idea is something I first came across on the Bountiful Baskets Facebook Page. Someone had mentioned starting one up in Texas, and it got me a bit curious, so I started googling “Food Swap“. It turns out that food swapping is something we’ve probably all been doing all along, just in a more formal setting. The basic premise is that you bring your homemade, home-grown, or foraged food, and swap it for other people’s homemade, home-grown, or foraged food.

It sounded like fun.

I happen to be a board member of the Moapa Valley Educational Farm Foundation, and a food swap sounded like just the sort of thing our organization would love to support, so I brought the idea to them. So, long story short (Ü), we now have a quarterly food swap where I live. Our first swap was in November, and I had just gotten some cranberries in my basket (along with some apples and pears!), so I made some of this conserve. I made a version of each – one with pears and one with apples. Both quite tasty (and great for our holiday table!)

Cranberries are one of those provocative fruits that you either love or you hate. It’s pretty much a draw in my house.

My goal was to create something that might appeal even to some of the cranberry haters out there (or at my house). I’m not sure I created something that cranberry haters would love, but I did manage to create something that they could live with, at least according to the cranberry haters in my family.

Apple Cranberry Conserve


Apple Cranberry Conserve

7 pints

Apple Cranberry Conserve


  • 8 small to medium apples
  • 16 oz of cranberries
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp finely shredded orange peel
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice


  1. Peel, core, and chop apples. Place in a heavy pot with remaining ingredients. Stir to coat apples. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil gently, stirring frequently for 30-35 minutes, or until mixture is thickened and sheets off of a metal spoon.
  2. When it is the right consistency, the liquid will slide off the spoon in sheets rather than drips.
  3. Ladle hot mixture into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids.
  4. Process jars in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes (start your timer when the water resumes boiling). Remove jars from water, cool on wire racks. Makes 7 half-pints.
  5. Instead of using this just as a cranberry sauce, here's an easy salad dressing: Take 1/4 cup of the conserve and whisk it together with 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Super yummy vinaigrette!



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