Saturday, 30 April 2016

Quince Jelly

There are quinces everywhere I look. Their fragrance is wonderful so I place large bowls of them all around the house. OK, a bowl of quinces in the bedroom might look a bit odd, but oh, that fresh scent is heavenly.
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.

Select quinces that are a mixture of some ripe and a few green ones.  The pectin in the greener fruit is necessary to make the jelly set.
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.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for hours.  It could be 4 to 5 hours, or even more.
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.

After approx 4 hours, and the colour is deep rich red, spoon out a little of the liquid and put into a shallow bowl. Place the bowl into the freezer for approx 3-5 minutes.
Take out of the freezer and run your finger through the jelly.

If the jelly liquid runs back together like this it is NOT SET. Put it back into the jam pot and simmer further.
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.

Ladle the jelly liquid into jars and seal while hot. There may be a few lumps in the liquid, so if you want lump free jelly you can pour through a strainer before pouring into jars.

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.

 So if you have a quince tree, or see them on sale at a roadside stall, you might like to think about having a go at making some jelly.
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.


  1. Droooooool! I'm salivating just reading of your Quince jelly as it is one of my favourite jellies too. I wish I was closer so I could buy from your stall. I didn't get one quince this year as the birds got the lot.

    1. Fran we had to net our tree, the local birds love anything fruity, but I picked lots of beautiful fruit from a neglected tree in one of our leased sheep paddocks. Go figure!

  2. Oh Wow, I would kill for quince. I have a tree, but no fruit. I think the Possums have taken care of that. I cannot believe you sell it for $2, wish I lived closer. Thanks for sharing, quince jam always reminds me of when I was a little girl in Madeira (Portugal) and eating home make bread with quince jam. Its one of those memories that always returns when I see any quince. Thanks again, Guida.

    1. Guida I won't tell you that, for morning smoko, we ate fresh sourdough that I baked this morning, with some home made cultured butter and topped with quince jelly. ;)

  3. Oh that looks lovely.

    I made Quince and Apple Jelly last year for the first time as one of my neighbours gave me a small bag full of quinces, I had never tasted their perfumed deliciousness before that. We have one jar left .... it will be for a special occasion, or maybe just breakfast ;-)

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  5. I'm pinning this for when I discover another Quince tree. Last year when we moved I discovered one down the street just at the end of fruiting season. I bought a fruit picker and ever day I drive past I look at it excited that in Autumn I can harvest the fruit. In Summer they chopped it down! It was on a rental so they probably thought it was too messy to keep. I was very disappointed! We live in the Snowy Mountains so not very abundant fresh food.

  6. If you like quince paste to have with cheese and crackers, I made quince paste in my slow cooker. Took about 5 hours but its better than letting it dry in the oven all night...

    Cheers - Joolz xx

    1. Thanks Joolz, I'll have a look at this recipe.


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