We finally got around to processing those quinces the other day – the ones we wrote about ages ago – with most of them going in to making a large batch of quince jelly (we didn’t make quince leather this time with the byproducts – the chooks looked hungry for a fruity feed!). We also made a jar of poached quinces (made from quinces that were peeled, cored, cut into wedges, and very gently poached in a sugar syrup with lime juice, cloves and cinnamon sticks), but for now here is our recipe for quince jelly.
10-12kg quinces – scrubbed in two washes of water and chopped into rough chunks
water to cover
juice of 8-10 lemons
- Before you do anything, put a small plate in your fridge to cool. You will need this later on in order to test your jelly to see whether it has been cooked sufficiently and will set.
- Put all the chopped quinces in to a large pot and cover with water.
- Bring to the boil and, on a medium-high simmer, leave to cook for around 2 hours, stirring from time to time.
- Remove pot from heat, place the lid on, and leave to cool to room temperature (ideally overnight).
- Strain all the liquid through a fine seive into another container.
- In a clean pot, add liquid, lemon juice and sugar and bring to the boil. (After straining I had about 5 litres of liquid. You will need as much sugar as you have liquid – meaning, if you find you have 5 litres of liquid like i did, you will need 5kg of sugar).
- Cook the jelly for about one hour on a rolling boil, stirring constantly to ensure that it does not stick and burn on the bottom.
- About 30 minutes into cooking, you can begin to check how close your jelly is to reaching the ‘set’ stage. The best way to check this is to put a few drips of it on a cold plate. Wait a moment for the drips to cool to the plate temperature and then push your finger along the plate into the drips of jelly. If you see any wrinkles form, the jam has reached the ‘set’ stage. If not, continue cooking, and keep testing every 10 minutes to see if any wrinkles form (remember to put your plate back in the fridge after every test!!) Another way you can check if your jelly has reached the set stage is to look at how it coats the back of the wooden spoon you are using. If you see a good thick coating on the back of the spoon after you have pulled it out of the pot, you are probably close. Keep an eye on the colour of the jelly, too, as it will generally get darker as it gets closer to the set stage.
- Decant while hot into sterilized jars.
- Allow to cool and then cap and label.
Serve liberally on buttery toast, crumpets, as topping on vanilla icecream, in cakes, biscuits, on sconnes and pancakes, and with cheese. Also fantastic when used to baste roasting meats.