Basically, conserve is fruit, usually chopped, preserved with sugar or honey, and often with nuts and spices added. It is served in a way similar to preserves, but because it is less concentrated and not as thick, (this version anyway, some make it thicker like a marmalade) it makes a good topping for ice cream, yogurt, or waffles and pancakes, or just about anything which would be complemented by a chunky fruit sauce.
1 unpeeled chopped orange
7 cups chopped, peeled, firm, ripe peaches
3 cups sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup chopped pistachios
Sterilize jars. Add orange to peaches; cook gently for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add sugar and ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Cook over moderate heat until peaches are becoming translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add nuts the last 5 minutes of cooking. Pour hot conserve into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes about 8 half-pint jars.
This recipe is a reduced-sugar modification of a basic conserve recipe. It originally called for 5 cups of sugar. Increase or decrease as you prefer, or substitute honey, agave, or your preferred sweetener for all or part of the sugar. It isn’t going to “set up” like jam, anyway. It is about the consistency of the fruit one observes in “fruit on the bottom” yogurt, if that gives you an idea.