There is a chance you might still be able to lay your hands on the last of this season’s quinces. I was given a bag of these fruits recently by a friend and couldn’t resist the urge to make this beautiful, jewel-like jelly.
When making jams and jellies it is traditional to use equal proportions of sugar and fruit. I have been trying to cut down on the amount of sugar I eat so I have reduced the sugar in this recipe and have used jam-making sugar with added pectin instead. I got a good set, although I would recommend keeping the jelly in the fridge after opening.
With its slightly floral taste, it is the perfect partner to an aged truckle of Somerset cheddar. Alternatively a teaspoon can be added to gravy to give a nice balance of flavours.
Quince trees are thought to originate from the Caucus mountains and have beautiful pink blossom. I think I might plant a couple of quinces in the garden this winter, so taken I am with this quirky, floral fruit.
1 lemon, juiced
Preserving sugar: For every 500ml juice use 300g preserving sugar
Put clean jam jars and lids in a low oven to sterilise. Put a few saucers into the fridge.
Place quinces into a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until fruit starts to fall apart. Do not stir or break up. Then strain the juice by pouring contents of pan into a colander lined with a clean tea towel or muslin which sits on top of the preserving pan. Tie up the top of the tea towel with string and suspend over the preserving pan so that the juice can drip down. Do not squeeze the bag as it will make the jelly cloudy.
Now measure out the juice and calculate how much sugar you will need. Then bring the juice to the boil, add the lemon juice and the sugar and dissolve it over a low heat. When all the sugar has dispersed, turn up the heat and boil rapidly (called a rolling boil) for about 20 minutes. After this point test for a set by putting a drop of the jelly onto a cold saucer and see if it wrinkles up when a finger is passed through it. If a set has not been achieved, boil for a further five minutes and repeat and so on.
Remove any scum from the top of the jelly with a spoon. It can also be removed by adding a pea sized blob of butter to the surface of the jelly and stirring gently.
Next pour the jelly into the sterilised jam pots and label.