I have a confession to make – until a week or so ago I was a quince ignoramus. I knew what they were, but that was about it. I have never cooked them, tasted them, or ever even picked one up. That has now changed.
Over the last few weeks the blogosphere seems to have been awash with quinces. It seemed everyone, well everyone except me, was cooking and talking about quinces. Naturally, I started to feel left out. This could not go on. If there is one thing that spurs me into action it’s the thought that I might be missing out on something good.
So I tottered off the markets and came home with a bag of quinces. Now, what to do with them.
It didn’t really take much effort to decide. I had to make quince jelly. I have been wanting to learn more about making jams and preserves. Here was a big chance to get started.
First I needed a recipe. I turned to one of my favourite blogs, the Cottage Smallholder. Fiona's posts are always interesting whether they are about delicious recipes, her beautiful garden or the exploits of her chicken and keet colony. I was sure I had seen a recipe posted there at some stage. With this in my hot little hand, all there was to do was get stuck in.
It all went quite smoothly to begin with. I simmered the quinces to a pulp and then set them out to drain in a muslin lined sieve. They seemed to drain really quickly. After an hour or so, the drips seemed to have ground to a halt. But there wasn’t a whole lot of juice. I obviously couldn’t squeeze the pulp or it would go cloudy. So I took to just gently lifting up the edges of the muslin every now and then, and that seemed to set it off again.
But even after 12 hours of draining there still didn’t seem to be much juice. So I decided to dilute it and then add the sugar based on that. I have no idea if this was the right thing to do. I just hoped for the best.
So then I boiled the jam to setting point. This all got a bit difficult. Fiona suggested putting a few drops of jelly onto a cold plate and pushing at it to see if it crinkles. The jelly seemed to stay quite thin for ages and ages. Eventually, it thickened up, but it refused to crinkle. Not even a hint of a crinkle. I was worried. I wanted the jelly to be quite soft. So I called it quits and poured it into the sterlised bottles. If it didn’t set I would just use it as a syrup.
I ended up with a little jelly left over. So I poured this into a container for immediate consumption. I left it on the bench and wandered off feeling a bit depressed.
An hour or so later I came back and found THIS.
Perfectly set quince jelly. I was so thrilled and excited. I ran around showing everyone in physical reach. I rang my Mum. I emailed my sister. I told everyone who listen about it next day at work.
It even tastes really, really good. Why haven't I tried this earlier. It's great with some sharp goats cheese. It's great on toast. Happy, happy, happy.