So a little while back it was the farmers market in town. Alongside purchasing a nice pie for the Chap I also brought some Quince.
This odd fuzzy fur covered pear like fruit is inedible raw, but I had an idea to make some quince jelly and under guidance from the seller I brought 6 quinces which I was assured would be enough for a small amount of jelly.
They sat ignored in my kitchen for a couple of weeks occasionally catching my eye and making me feel terribly domestic goddess like. This weekend I had had enough guilt and so I made jelly.
It was surprisingly simple!
- Vanilla essence (optional)
- Large pan
- Fine mesh sieve
- Confectioners thermometer
Start by chopping the flesh from the core. The core is very very hard, to be honest the flesh is not exactly soft either, so use a sharp knife and be prepared for thinking that you are leaving a lot of quince behind.
Pop the piece in to a pan with just enough water to cover the pieces. The quince flesh turns brown really quickly when exposed to air so I popped the pieces in to a pan of water as soon as it was chopped. I don’t think it would affect the flavour or look of the jelly, but I just thought it would be better to do it that way.
When you have all your quince in a pan, bring to the boil and allow to simmer until the quince has started to turn soft and mushy.
I added a lid full (a tiny half teaspoon of vanilla essence at this point to help bring out the quince flavour (which is a little bit roses and honey).
Once the fruit is soft, mash the flesh into pulp and let this boil again to extract all the juice. You are looking to extract the juice shortly, so if the mix is too thick it’s a good idea to add a bit more water at this stage.
Place the fine mesh sieve over a clean bowl and pour the pulp into the sieve. You want the juice to drain through the sieve into the bowl.
NB: you can allow this to happen over hours, you can use cheese clothes, muslins and jam bags and a stool and leave it overnight.
I have no patience and two cats that will stick their paws into anything that might in some way be food like and who would regardless of it being not cat food would knock it over.
So I just gave it a bit of help with the back of a spoon and by shaking it a bit.
Once the juice is out you need to measure how much juice you have. Then sieve it again into the pan (to ensure that you don’t have too many bits in it).
I did not have use for the pulp, so I gave it to the ungrateful birds in the garden.
You need to now add the sugar. I am sure there will be lots of sites that can give you exact measurements, but basically you want about 60/70 grams of sugar for every 100ml of juice.
I had 600ml of juice so I added 400 grams of sugar. This seems a terrifying amount of sugar (to me anyway!). because I was going on the side of less being more I also added two tablespoons of jam sugar (sugar with added pectin) to help the set.
You need to bring this to the boil stirring until the sugar is all dissolved. Insert your thermometer and keep an eye on the temperature.
The juice will start to get a little thicker as it boils and when it gets to around 100 C it will start bubbling and you will see little bit of foam and scum on the surface. Using a metal spoon skim the foam off the top.
NB Apparently, you can add a bit of butter to the jelly and this will prevent the foam issue, but this will make the jelly cloudy. I do not eat diary, so I did not bother with the butter.
Let the jelly boil away stirring occasionally. It is meant to get a bit thicker, but mine did not do so to a noticeable degree. When the temperature of the jelly hits 108 C to 110 C it is done.
NB: I am really bad at the cold plate set test. If you are happy to do that, then it’s a good way of testing the jelly. Personally, I trust science and when the boiling point has got up to 110 C the jelly will set.
Using a funnel, pour the jelly into sterilised jars and pop the lids on whilst it is still hot. Place in the fridge (preferably without burning yourself on the hot hot jars) and let the jelly cool and set.
Enjoy the quince jelly. According to my chap it a bit like eating really good turkish delight and is best on hot buttered toast (other serving suggestions are avaliable).
As you can see I made three 8oz jars worth from 6 quince (the purple jar is spiced low sugar plum jam):