Makes about 3 jars of 200 ml each.
1 liter lingonberries (about 800 g)
230 g granulated sugar
300 g hard pears, washed, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths, depending on their sizes
100 ml water, at room temperature
In a saucepan, boil water and sugar to obtain a syrup.
Add the pears to the syrup and let simmer for ½ an hour.
The cooking time may vary depending on the ripeness of the pears.
In the meantime, sort out the lingonberries and remove all rotten fruits and remaining leaves.
Do not wash the berries.
When pears are soft and slightly transparent, add the berries to the syrup.
Simmer for about 40 minutes.
Do not stir; instead, shake the saucepan left and right occasionally, and make sure that they are not burning.
Remove the foam that is forming on the surface of the syrup.
When berries become slightly transparent, stop the cooking process and pour the preserves into the sterilized jars.
Close the jars and flip them upside down for 20 minutes.
Let cool down before refrigerating.
Should you wish to keep your preserves for more than 2 to 3 weeks, you will need to pasteurize them in boiling water for 20 minutes.
These preserves make a wonderful complement to Pâtés, meat terrines, baked meats, hot or cold, and certain types of cheeses, for example, oscypek.
Should you want to keep your lingonberry preserves for a longer time you should pasteurize them in jars. Once you put warm preserves in clean sterilized jars as indicated in my recipe, seal the jars and immediately place them for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remember that the jars cannot touch the bottom of the saucepan so you should place them in a basket and then place the basket into boiling water. The jars in the basket should not touch each other.
Before placing the jars into water, screw-on the jar rings firmly, but do not over-tighten them.
Water in the saucepan should come 1 cm below the top of the jars.
After 15 minutes remove jars from the water bath, close them tighter, let cool down and store them in a dark place.
Lingonberry is a small plant with edible red fruits.
As far as I know, it is not cultivated in Poland.
The fruits are collected in the wild, in the forests.
The berries are tart. They are almost always cooked and sweetened before eating as preserves, juice or syrup. Raw fruits may however be just mashed with sugar, which preserves most of their nutrients.
In Poland, you can still buy raw lingonberries on traditional food markets. When I am in Krakow during summertime, I try to buy them on a famous food market called “Kleparz market” and I prepare the preserves. I serve them to my family with meat or oscypek cheese. The preserves have a bit of a tart aftertaste, but that is exactly what I love in them.
In the 80’s, preparation of various preserves was a big culinary tradition in my family. We were spending most of our summers close to the Tatry Mountains. At that time I had a small doggy, which my parents bought for me one day on a traditional animal market in the town of Nowy Targ. Piwko (“a little beer”), a little mountain doggy was always taken with us for long escapades to the forest. I remember him as a big amateur of small, red fruits.
We were spending a lot of time in local forests picking up wild fruits. Not only because there was a crisis, but also because it was a good culinary tradition to have homemade preserves.