Quinces, something I've never tasted before although I've read lots about them and seen so many different images of them. Some look more like pears, these were from an ornamental Quince bush that lives outside my neighbour Mary's conservatory and look a bit more like apples .... with belly buttons!!
As soon as she gave these to me I had to spring into action and make some Quince and Apple Jelly. There were slightly too unripe really and I think leaving them to ripen in the house might have been for the best and made their delicious flavour even more pronounced.
Mary had had to harvest them early because there is a real squirrel problem here at the moment they are everywhere and in great numbers and they are taking so much fruit whether it be ripe or not. We lost the whole of our Plum crop to them sadly while we were waiting for the plums to turn from green. The squirrels had no such desire to wait for a change of colour and ran off with most of them before they had even started to ripen.
I used the same weight again in apples from our tree and stewed them together, giving the Quinces a ten minute head start as they were so much harder than the apples. It worked a treat and after a thirty minute simmer together the contents of the jam pan were left to drip through the jelly bag overnight.
I had got a total of 1.2 litres of juice by the next morning so I added just under 900g of jam sugar to the juice, once the sugar had dissolved I let it come to a rolling boil and stay there until it reached jam setting temperature on the thermometer. Then it was quickly spooned into the jars, lids on, inverted briefly and then stood on a cooling rack and left to cool.
I got three 1lb jam jars for the store cupboard, and a bowlful for testing purposes ;-)
I did in fact have enough for a small jar but I hadn't sterilised any of my little jars so rather than have a half empty jam jar I always prefer to put the excess in a bowl that will live in the fridge until it's all eaten up, this won't last long ... it's delicious.
And as soon as it was cool enough I just had to hold it up to the sunshine streaming through the living room window. Just look at that glorious colour, it's like Summer in a jar .... which is exactly what you want from your preserves when you open them in the depth of Winter.
This can be eaten as jam in the usual way on toast, crackers or scones, or it would be absolutely wonderful served with cheese or cold meats (if you eat meat). I'm checking the flavours of all my jams and preserves this year for their ability to do this, so much better to have something in the cupboard that can be dual, or even multi purpose, and therefore much more useful in the larder.