Visiting friends in Oxford last week I was given a generous quantity of quinces by both couples. I have enjoyed their fragrance for a few days but over the weekend I've turned them into jelly, my favourite conserve for winter teas. On the face of it, a quince is leaden metal: hard and inedible raw, and although fragrant it seems improbable that it should turn into something as delicious as the jelly is. I like quince jelly to be clear and richly coloured - so am quite pleased with the two jars that I managed to make. The secret to clarity is not to use the flesh, and to only use the peel and cores simmered in just enough water to cover them, for about an hour. This is then strained and the liquor reboiled with the same volume of sugar until it's thick enough to set. I think I overboiled this batch a little, but at least the jelly is firm and doesn't run off the toast, and it hasn't affected the colour or flavour.
|Two cultivars of quince, from two lots of friends. The smaller ones are 'Vranja' and very fragrant: the large ones are much less so, but give more flesh.|
|The raw material for the jelly is the peel and cores, simmered gently in water. The flesh was stewed in what Morrisons called sweet white wine, but it had to be augmented with muscovado: the result is delicious stewed quince.|
|The point of the exercise: quince jelly on toast for tea.|