Monday, 28 September 2015

Quince and Apple Jelly


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.

Sue xx

22 comments:

  1. Squirrels are a pain here too they've nicked all the hazel nuts and most of the walnuts. There are little piles of the green outside husk bit of walnuts all over the place where they've stripped it off before burying the nut.
    Our quince has round fruits and they are not very big this year, hopefully they'll stay there 'til the first frost and then I need a new jelly bag before I can do some jelly.

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    1. I guess the skins will soften after a good frost won't they making them easier to peel if you want to peel them.

      Squirrels are most definitiely ahead of the game here, I've just seen an ENORMOUS one in the woods, high up a tree. It got my attention because a great big branch was swaying and having a knock on effect on the other branches, when the squirrel appeared it was almost large rabbit sized .... I'll be dreaming tonight ..... 'Attack of the Giant Squirrel' :-)

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  2. Quinces are lovely when slowly baked in the oven and this is where I think the Aga would be perfect. Wash them in cold water, you might even give them a good scrub with a soft brush to remove any "fluff". No need to peel. Put a large piece of aluminum foil in an oven tray. Spray with non-stick spray. Put quince on foil and before you close the parcel add a small amount of water in as well. Put in a low oven and leave them to there, we normally use a 140 deg oven. You can open them after about an hour to see. Some go a nice pink, other don't. Leave in the oven until they are soft. Once done, the skin comes of easily and if you want you can cut them up, before freezing or leave whole. Heated slightly they are lovely with some custard or if you are feeling really posh, some cream! Sometime you need to add sugar or some sweetner.

    All the best from Cape Town
    Elizabeth

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    1. Thanks for that Elizabeth, I'll keep it in mind for next year when I get some more. As you say anything slow baked is brilliant in the Aga. :-)

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  3. Wondering how you can make the "other" sort of jelly from apples, rather than a Rowntree's block. They never survive. I always eat the jelly blocks before getting near making an actual jelly.

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    1. I think if I was trying that I would use Agar Agar (or you could use gelatine if you don't mind what it's made from!!), and simply stew the apples in slightly more water than usual and then add the setting agent following the directions on the pack. It would make for a cloudy looking but most likely very delicious dessert.

      I used to eat the cubes of jelly when I was little, they were nicer than an actual jelly :-)

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  4. Sue, I have never tasted quince, and this looks beautiful in the jar! I wonder about those squirrels. Maybe it's a sign of a long winter?

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    1. I think maybe you're right, the animals seem to know something we don't, there is a real sense of grab it while you can out there on the hillside and in our woodland!!

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  5. I didn't realise a Quince can look so much like an apple. I've just had to google it!! As you day summer in a jar.

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    1. There are some on Google Images that look apple-like like mine, but most of them, I think mostly the true English Quince, look like a very yellow pear.

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    2. I think the fruit you have there are from the ornamental quince. I have a lovely bush, full of peach coloured flowers, rarely get many quince. My jelly always came out pink!

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    3. You've just solved the mystery of the quince tree in my garden. It's an ornamental quince which is why the fruit doesn't look like the ones I google!! I haven't got many fruit this year.

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    4. It would be well worth adding the ones you do have to some apples, they add a wonderful flavour.

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  6. We're they ornamental quinces or English quinces? I have used the ornamental ones to make jam - it sets really well. Like you, I use it to go with cheese as well as on toast. Yummy! Yours is such a beautiful colour :)

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    1. I'm pretty sure these are the ornamental quinces, yes I got a really good set too.

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  7. This looks delicious! I'm curious - why did you invert the jars?

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    1. It's something I picked up from Pam Corbin ('Pam the Jam' from the River Cottage programmes), it sterilises the lid and also helps you to get a really good seal on the jars.

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    2. Oh how interesting! I use her preserves book a lot - one of the most useful I've found.

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  8. You are right about a possible hard winter. It`s forecast that we are meant to experience the hardest and longest winter since 1965. Not something I look forward to, considering the cost of heating my home.

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    1. All the more reason then to keep filling the larder and the wood store, let's keep at it :-)

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  9. I used to have a supply of quinces but the lady retired and could no longer pick them from outside her office- I'll have to plant a tree.

    Quince jelly is great for glazing apple tarts or adding to apple pie, and I made a beef stew/casserole in the slow cooker by adding the remains of a jar that had been sitting around in the cupboard; it worked very well. I think it would go well with lentils too.

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    1. More good uses for it thank you. Glazing things with it would be so easy to do :-)

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