Saturday, October 06, 2007

Quince Jelly

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.


At 1:18 am, Blogger Joanna said...

WELL DONE! So satisfying when it goes right. Quince always sets, whatever you do, it's so full of pectin.

What are you going to try next? Quince liqueur? Jam? Membrillo? It'll be no time at all before you've run out of jelly ;) because you'll eat it with cheese, use it in your gravy and sauces, think how well it goes with meat ... ah the joys of cooking!

Love the photos


At 5:06 am, Blogger Cynthia said...

Happy, happy, happy :) I know the feeling when something comes out really well. I've heard of but never had quince before.

The pics with the jelly look great, I especially like the last one with the cheese and craker!

At 1:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so so beautiful! Great job on the jelly, KJ. I love the color and the texture - perfect!

At 3:02 pm, Blogger Lyra said...

Its an addiction you thing you will be canning everything in sight! Congratulations:)

At 5:55 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Thank Joanna, I think I will try membrillo next. There are lots of friends and family that would love it as a gift.

Thanks Cynthia, quinces are really lovely. I hope you get a chance to try them.

Thanks Veron.

Hi Lyra, I think you're right. I'm already scheming away.

At 9:06 pm, Blogger Cottage Smallholder said...

This is a brilliant post, K.J. It brought back all the excitement and trepidation of the time when I first made jelly. And, as always, your photos are wonderful.

Quince jelly is the best and most versatile jelly that you can make. There is something magical about transforming such beautiful, ancient fruit into something so precious and delicious.

At 5:18 am, Blogger Deborah said...

Your jelly looks perfect!! I have never had quince before, so you weren't alone! I have been looking for them, but it's hard to find things that aren't "ordinary" around here. I'll have to keep looking!

At 8:07 am, Blogger Anh said...

KJ, your quince jelly is totally adorable! I just love the color, soooo pretty!

At 3:44 pm, Blogger food makes me happy said...

Haha they surely look very very good!

At 10:25 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Fiona, thanks so much.

Hi Deborah, I hope you can find it. It's worth the effort.

Thanks Anh.

Thanks Cindy.

At 4:59 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to have found another quince lover out there!

At 10:23 pm, Blogger Pille said...

That's a gorgeous-looking jelly! I went to the market this morning, and saw no quinces just yet, so I need to wait another week or so before I can make this. But it does look utterly beautiful!!!

At 3:02 pm, Blogger Helene said...

Beautiful amber shade! Terrific job and I *must* have some now!!

At 3:18 pm, Blogger Sunshine said...

There's nothing in the world as the beautiful sight of well jelled jelly except for the sounds of pinging jars as they seal.

At 3:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love quince. I get a quince preserve called Membrillo that is traditionally served with Mangchego. What a nice way to use this fruit. Thanks!

At 11:31 pm, Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

We had a quince bush at the house. I think it was ornamental.... If not it looks like I missed out on some delicious jelly!!!!

At 9:35 am, Blogger Gloria Baker said...

Your quincy jam is so beautiful, looks beauty, I died for quincy jam (dulce de membrillo) I have to wait to March to make it, but I have a quincy tree, croosedfinger they will be fine. So nice pictures I enjoy your blog. Gloria

At 10:53 am, Blogger Elle said...

Love your jelly and that you use it with cheese...must try that. When we made the jelly we cooked it a long time, until the juice turned pink, but it looks like we could have stopped sooner. Your amber color is so pretty!

At 5:20 pm, Blogger Kelly-Jane said...

How wonderful to be able to make your own quince jelly, gorgeous colour too :)

At 9:16 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Will, there seems to be a few of us around at the moment.

Hi Pille, you are in for a treat.

Hi Helene, I wish I could share it with you.

Hi Sunshine, I agree.

Hi HB, i am looking forward to making some membrillo.

Oh no Valli, that's bad luck.

Thanks Gloria.

Thanks Elle, I have to admit that the quinces I used weren't exactly stellar. The season here ends in june. So they were a bit geriatric and had been in cold storage. The whole bag only cost $1. That may have impacted on the colour. I was expecting it to be pink. Still it tasted wonderful.

Hi Kelly-Jane, thanks and I agree it's just great.

At 11:20 am, Blogger Kirsten said...

Hey KJ,

Lovely!! I had a very bad experience with my first batch of quinces, but after reading your post I am inspired to start anew. I think I failed with quinces because I am impatient. I gave them an hour (to simmer and turn all lovely and rosy) and when that didn't happen, tossed them. I must try again!

At 7:48 pm, Blogger Amanda at Little Foodies said...

'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.'

I loved that! Great pics too.

At 11:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make quince jelly without cutting the fruit, just wash the fruit thoroughly to remove the furry substance do not break skin, 4 large quinces, 8 cups of sugar and 8 cups of water, boil gently until fluid is a beautiful pinky colour, test for setting, very gently remove fruit and bottle the beautiful clear jelly, the fruit can the be eaten with custard or used to make quince paste.

At 6:43 am, Blogger Dorie said...

Hello everyone! Re quinces, most folks who have a quince tree don't know what they are or how to use them, so an ad in local paper or maybe on Craig's List should net you a whole bunch of quince for the picking.In No. Cal., they are just now almost ready for harvest. Whenever I have bought another home, I have planted a Pineapple Quince tree and they are usually ready for first fruits in 3-4 years. This is my first time trying jelly, so really appreciate all the tips in this blog. Thanks to all.

At 6:11 am, Anonymous nancy said...

My French Chef freind just gave me a jar of Quince Jelly. Thanks to you I now know how to use it!

At 6:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read this blog. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.


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