Quince Jelly and Jam

Last week I ordered 1.5 kg of quinces. I have never seen quinces before except in pictures, so, when they arrived I was surprised to see how large these ones were – only 4 were 1.5kg! I wish I’d taken a photo of them but this is pretty much what they looked like, only bigger…
Their fragrance is subtle and sweet, they are a deep yellow and covered in a furry coating which had to be scrubbed off before cooking. 
I found this recipe to use as a guideline to make quince jelly.
– I cut up the quinces skin and all – only discarding the few black seeds. They are extremely hard to cut – I had to ‘saw’ them at times in order to chop them up into chunks.
– I put all the quince pieces into a large pan and covered with water. I brought it to boil and simmered for a couple of hours.
– Then I poured the entire contents of the pan into a colander that had been lined with muslin and sat in a large bowl, the golden liquid strained through the fabric into the glass bowl below… clear and golden, like honey. 
– I let it sit for a couple of hours to strain completely, without squeezing so as not to cloud the juice, then after measuring it, I poured it into a pan adding about 3/4 cup of sugar for every cup of liquid.
– Brought it quickly to boiling point and continued to boil for approximately an hour and a half until setting point was reached. (Intermittently spending a good while gently stirring with a wooden spoon entranced by the beautiful ambrosial liquid… not because it was necessary… just because I could) I melted a teaspoonful of butter to get rid of the foam on the surface. After the boiling time, you can test a small spoonful on a saucer. If it gels or gets all wrinkly on the surface – it’s ready. Or, test with a sugar thermometer if you have one – it is ready once it reaches about 105°C (220°F).
– I poured the viscous liquid into sterilised jars and left to cool.
– I absolutely could not waste all the rest of that mushy quince mixture even though it did not look appetising at all – all brown and squishy in the colander. I pushed it through a sieve to puree, then put it into a pan and cooked it for a half hour or so with 3/4 cup of sugar per cup of quince.

– Finally I spooned the jam into sterilised jars. It is the most delicious looking peachy colour and of a soft sorbet-like consistency.

Quince Jam and Quince Jelly
 Nine jars from just four quinces! 
Traditionally served with cheese, I like it on hot buttered toast, and I have an idea it might be good with vanilla ice cream. Not so sweet as jam, and yet not so tangy as marmalade. An unusual delicate flavour – well worth making. I will definitely be searching out quinces to cook with again. 
If only I could find some local quince trees to scavenge.

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