Saturday, 30 April 2016
When I was little and Mum made Quince Jelly, I wanted to eat nothing other than fresh bread spread with butter and the delicious jelly for days.
I feel pretty much the same now about quince jelly, but we eat it in lots of other ways too.
It's the easiest jelly to make; time consuming but is ridiculous how easy it is, for the sensational flavour at the end.
The preparation is quick and easy, with no cutting up of anything which makes it even more desirable for lazy folks like me.
Wipe the fluff from the quinces while washing them.
Weigh up a good 3 kilograms of whole quinces and put into a large jam pot.
Cover with 3 kgs of sugar
and pour over 3 litres of water.
I usually cut the sugar back when making jams but I DON'T when making jelly. The pectin from the skins and the "truck load" of sugar is what makes it jelly.
The aim is to allow the quinces to keep their shape and remain whole, so don't stir the pot. I grab the handles on my big pot and give it a swirl and a wiggle every hour or so, to move them around in the liquid.
The colour begins to change from yellow green to this rich ruby red. It will get much darker before it's ready to test for setting.
Take out of the freezer and run your finger through the jelly.
Test again after 30 minutes.
When it has eventually reached setting stage, take the jam pot off the heat source and place onto a heat proof surface. (large wooden chopping board)
Using a slotted spoon and tongs, carefully lift the quinces out and place into a large colander which is sitting in a large bowl. Some liquid will drain from the quinces into the bowl so this can be tipped back into the jelly liquid in the jam pot.
Now.... here are the leftover stewed quinces. We feel they are really too sweet to use as a dessert fruit, but they can be saved to be eaten with pork, roast duck or goose and even cheese.
When they have cooled a little, pull the flesh away from the cores and place the flesh into jars. Discard the cores. Cover with a drizzle of the liquid that has formed on the bottom of the bowl and screw the lid on.
It's probably best to keep the jars in the fridge because they are not sealed air tight when done this way, although the high sugar content may preserve them.
I think the flesh can also be turned into quince paste, but it didn't work for me when I tried it last year.
Next morning I always enter the kitchen with trepidation because I've been known to make jelly that didn't set. Tip a jar and observe if the jelly is moving around in there or has set firm, or near enough to firm.
Last week I made a batch that didn't set. I was rushing and didn't test it properly before I poured it into the jars, so it all had to be emptied out of the jars and simmered for another 30 minutes. That will teach me to hurry and try to cut corners!
When I reboiled it, a soup pot was large enough to contain all of the jelly.
The end result is really not a lot of jelly because all of the fruit has been removed, but if you love the unique taste and fragrance of quinces, you will agree that the effort is well worth it.
Have you got a foolproof method of making quince paste that you could share?
Tomorrow is going to be cool enough to light up the wood stove so I'll be slow poaching some sliced quinces in a big cast iron enamel pot in the oven. Just perfect with some home made icecream.
Cheers and thanks for visiting.