Sunday, 17 November 2013

Alchemy


Quince jelly
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.


5 comments:

  1. Quince jelly ... haven't had any for years. My mum used to make it, and strain it through muslin. I seem to remember eating it with cold meats and cheeses. I made Greengage cheese one year when we had enough greengages and that was great with cold meats and cheese too. Your quince jelly is such a rich, clear colour. Enjoy ...

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  2. I ate quince as a peeled sliced fruit like apples in Turkey. It is very pleasant and refreshing. It is quite popular there.

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  3. Quince is under appreciated in the States as a shrub and as a fruit. Lovely jelly. I've also made a quince and ginger chutney - fabulous with roast pork.

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  4. best alchemy I've read (and seen) in a long time...thank you.

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  5. Looks like it was well worth the trouble. Our quinces dropped off one by one over the summer, sometimes it happens.

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