Posts Tagged ‘quince’

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for the longest time! I’m posting it up now for Heidi, who has quinces in her kitchen..

Quinces are an intriguing fruit – they’re hard and inedible when raw, undergo an astonishing colour change from bright yellow to deep red as they cook, and scent the whole kitchen with their sweet fragrance while they’re boiling.  We had a lot of fun with these!

1. Wash the quinces well in a sink of cold water, scrubbing off the external fur with your fingertips.  Don’t peel or seed the fruit; instead chop them into small pieces and put them into a wide, deep pot.  Pour in enough filtered water to float the fruit.

2. Bring the pot to boil, covered, and stew the fruit until it has completely turned to mush. Stir occasionally and watch that the pot doesn’t boil over.  Once the fruit begins to soften, break it up with a potato masher to speed up the process.  This can take quite a long time (a couple of hours or more, depending on the amount of fruit you have), so don’t rush it.

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3. Line a colander with a clean, open-weave cloth and pour boiling water over it to sterilise.  Place the colander over a large bowl and pour the quince liquid and pulp in.  Allow to drain until quite dry – several hours or overnight.  Don’t press the fruit in any way, or you’ll get cloudy jelly.

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4.  Measure the drained juice and pour it into a large wide pot. For every litre of liquid, add 1 jar of homemade pectin (300ml), the strained juice of 1 lemon and 1 kg of sugar.  Bring the pot to a gentle boil, uncovered over a high heat, skimming often to remove any foam or scum that floats to the top.  Foam is an indication that the pectin is working, so it’s a good thing, even though it’s a pain to skim off.  Pete believes it’s actually the pectin and lemon juice working together to clarify the jelly, so the more gunk you can remove from the top of the liquid, the clearer your jelly will be.

5. Bring the jelly to a rapid boil until it reaches 220F (104.5C) on a candy thermometer and a small blob of jelly wrinkles on a cold plate when given a little poke.  If the jelly has reached temperature and doesn’t set, try adding a little more sugar – if a jelly doesn’t set, it’s usually because the magic combination of pectin, sugar, fruit and acid isn’t quite in balance.

6. Once the jelly is setting up, pour it into sterilised jars, seal tightly, and hot water process by boiling them for at least 10 minutes in a large saucepan of water, with the liquid covering the lids by at least 1″ (2.5cm).  Make sure you don’t pour cold water onto the hot jars, or they’ll crack – have the water already boiling and gently lower the sealed jars in.

Quince jelly has lots of applications, both savoury and sweet. I’ve been eating it on toast with Stilton cheese, but it’s also brilliant with roast lamb.  I’ve used it in onion marmalade and Pete V recently pointed me to a recipe for quince aioli which looks delicious!

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See our Jam Making Primer for more tips on making jam.

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