Carrot Cake Conserve Recipe

Carrot Cake Conserve
Steve Legato/Running Press
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: 4 half pints (32 servings)

This recipe is printed with permission from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan (2016, Running Press). In this, her third book, she adapts recipes spreads, dips, pickles, and preserves to use several kinds of natural sweeteners: Honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar, dates, and fruit juice concentrate. This honey-sweetened conserve captures the essence of the popular dessert in the form of this preserve. Conserves are chunkier than jam, and usually contain nuts and/or dried fruit; in this case, raisins are included. For more information on the book and on preserving with natural sweeteners, read my interview with the author.

If you’ve ever had a taste of traditional Carrot Cake Jam and found it cloying, throw out that memory. This conserves trades the traditional sticky sweetness for a hint of honey and little lemony tartness that allows the primary ingredients to sing. I like to stir a heaping spoonful into oatmeal and top the whole thing with some toasted pecans for a hearty, healthy dessert doppelgänger. 

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups/170 grams carrots (finely grated)
  • 1 cup/200 grams apple (grated flesh)
  • 2 cups/525 grams pineapple (chopped)
  • 1¾ cups/600 grams honey
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters lemon juice (bottled)
  • ½ cup/80 grams raisins (golden)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (freshly grated)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves (ground)

How to Make It

  1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 4 half-pint/250 ml jars.
  2. In a low, wide, non-reactive pan, combine the carrots, apple, pineapple, honey, lemon juice, raisins, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir to combine, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Once the liquid begins to bubble vigorously, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, for about 35 and 40 minutes.
  3. When the carrots have softened, the raisins have plumped up, and the liquid in the pan has reduced to a thick syrup, the conserve is done.
  1. Remove the pan from the heat and stir for an additional minute, to help the conserve tighten up a bit more.
  2. Funnel the conserve into prepared the jars, leaving ½ inch/12 mm of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Note: Make sure to use bottled lemon juice in this recipe. Because carrots are a low-acid vegetable, the consistent acidity of a bottled brand offers both safety and flavor. 

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 76
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Unsaturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 7 mg
Carbohydrates 20 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 0 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)