I feel I little like the queen, never see or hear from her for a year and then the Christmas message appears. Well this is my Easter message and it all about quince, not corona, not isolation, not bread (well maybe a Hot Cross Bun), just quince.
When we first purchased this property, I had plans to fill the lane way with all sorts of fruit trees, herbs and other plants that could be shared within the community. I have sadly only managed to plant a quince tree and some geraniums that I relocated from other spots. The few apple trees I planted just didn’t make it. The quince tree did not perform at all well the first few years and I now think I have been pruning it too hard, as all of this fruit was on branches I probably would have have trimmed off in previous years. So these combined with a few my daughter had on her young tree are being converted into quince jelly and quince paste.
I follow the same method up to a point and then use the ‘mash’ left to make the quince paste and the liquid for the jelly.
Start by washing all the fuzzy down from the quince, cut out any dodgy bits cop the rest into chunks and put in a pot with plenty of water covering them and simmer until really soft. This can take an hour or more.
Once the fruit is soft it needs to be strained to separate the liquid from the solid. It is VITAL that this isn’t rushed or forced as you will end up with cloudy jelly. I use some calico tied to an upturned stool or chair, dump the mash into it and have a bucket underneath as a catcher.
I left this overnight to let it do it’s drip, drip, drip, ever so slowly into the bucket. The next day I measured the liquid into a pot, added equal parts sugar, a squeeze of lemon and let it slowly come to setting point. As this happens, the most magical transformation to a beautiful pink is taking place. Once setting point is reached it can be bottled as you would with any jam.
For the quince paste it is a matter of converting the leftover mash after straining. This is what was left from the juice straining. Looks a bit like vomit doesn’t it!
I don’t like a really gritty paste, so I do one separation using a larger gauge mesh to remove all of the chunky bits, seeds and core fibers, then run the remaining fruit pulp through a finer gauge mesh. This leaves a lovely fine pulp. The bits removed will be chook fodder and they love it.
Now at this point, for anyone who has ever attempted quince paste, you will undoubtedly recall the amount of mess making this can create. Well, not with this baby. The magic weapon is to use your slow cooker. The paste can simmer away there for hours until it hits the desired consistency without a spatter on anything. This is the fruit pulp with ~3/4 cup of sugar to each cup of pulp mixed in and ready to simmer away.
I turned it off overnight as I am not really a thrill seeker and just turned it back on the next morning. Once it reached a thickening stage I placed a t/towel over it between the paste and the lid and left the lid slightly off so moisture wouldn’t fall back into the paste. I let this simmer until I was happy with the consistency. It looks very dark but it is no way overcooked.
The paste was then poured into some jars, some suitable to remove slabs from for serving with platters etc.
And that is how simple and easy it is to convert some ridiculously weird fruit into something delicious.
Seeing as it is Easter, I’ll wish you all a safe and not too lonely time. I hate not being able to get together but hope we will see our new grand-daughter at her 21st. Cheers witha sourdough Hot Cross Bun and a glass of pink sauvignon blanc to match the pink quince jelly.
13 Replies to “Quince”
The jelly looks glorious and you are right about the appearance of the mash! But what a wonderful looking paste! 21 days, 21 weeks, 21 months – i hope it’s much less than that – but as that wonderful old Scottish lady said ” just follow the rules and you’ll be fine, this will pass.
Aah quinces, they make a such a fleeting appearance for those of us that rely on the markets. May well miss them this year if one of my rare outings don’t coincide. Isn’t their change of colour from murk to deep ruby red wondrous? Nothing better than a fresh scone with quince jelly and a big dollop of whipped cream. Happy Easter Maree, hope you can take some time to put your feet up X
Cheers Sandra, sitting in front of the fire with a chockie (not really a big chockie fan) and about to binge watch something. 😂
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s amazing what an ugly green fruit can become. I love the tip about the upturned chair. Happy Easter, making the best of it is the only option, and you’ve been doing it in style 🐰
I used to have a big pillow case that was ideal as I hung it from a hook but it wore out. Hope you are managing to make the best of things too!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Maree, good to see you are still around and doing foodie things. I’ve had no success with my quince tree. It is huge now and flowers beautifully and sets lots of fruit, but something always gets it all before it is ripe. It’s just too big to net. I can’t imagine what would eat an unripe quince, but there you go. It also gets a disease called, from memory, quince rust…brown dead patches, but only on the leaves not the fruit. Your jelly looks wonderful. I’ve never had any success (with bought quinces) with getting that lovely colour. Doing it in the slow cooker is a stroke of genius; I’m tempted to buy some and try. Best wishes.
Hi Bev, yes still hanging around! We only use a couple of jars of jelly a year so don’t need many. At our old place I had to resort to buying due to codlin moth infestation that I couldn’t control no matter what I tried. Cheers, M
Maree, please post whenever you want or are inspired. (Long live the Queen!) Such fun to read. Loved your makeshift “strainer”, too, and beautiful results. Enjoy!
Your quince jelly looks superb- so clear and pretty. Hope you’re doing well during covid.
Cheers Sherry. Hope you are ok too.
I never see quinces here but loved reading about the process, the slow cooker and upturned stool are strokes of genius. I am not sure I could keep our animals away from it though (the stool). Hope you are still well.
Hi Liz, doing as well as can be expected in such uncertain and restrictive times. Quince are a unique fruit with a lot of different uses. Took me a while to acquire an appreciation of them but now love them. Hope you are also doing well over there.