I grew up eating cool stuff like quince jelly on sandwiches or toast. A rich pinky red colour that was both sweet and tart was perfect for an easy snack. Fast forward many years and I must have a tub of Quince paste when I do a cheese and fruit platter. It works so well with all sorts of cheeses and pear slices.
But back to the title. I discovered a quince tree in my backyard the other day by mistake. Looking through a window at the right (or wrong) angle I saw a yellow thing hanging the tree and my first thought was “yay, lemons” and “how did I miss a lemon tree?” On closer inspection, it wasn’t lemons, but quinces. Even better. Jelly!
A quince is a funny shaped fruit that has a really pretty perfumed smell. A lightly citrusy overtures, but not the lemon lime smell, more of a tangy apple-pear combination of smell. If you smell the flesh it is a familiar smell even if you can’t put your finger on it.
I pick the ones that look good and then hunt out other ways to cook them. Roasting with a lamb or pork in the oven is one I want to try. And I happen to have both in my freezer. But with only 5 good ones, I’m starting with the jelly. And yes, I’ll be the only one who eats it, but I don’t mind – that means more for me!
Hunting out a recipe (3 books & online cooking page = zip, nil, nada) I grab the huge Australian heritage cookbook I’ve never actually used. I then realise I have no jars. A quick call to mum and I pop round quickly to grab some and also ‘borrow’ some expertise on what I should do. (+ a small container so mum can try some aswell). This was easy as mum has the same recipe book I was using so we could look at it and not the picture I took on my phone… lol
As I start this post my quinces are in the first stage of simmering away – for an hour.
I have just strained the juice, and to the pot am adding more water and the mushy fruit flesh then simmering for another 30 mins.
Then comes the time-consuming part…. (adding sugar and standing there stirring stirring… for around 45 mins).
Think I might start working on dinner now while I have time to do stuff.
Some time later….
by the time dinner was ready I was pouring my jelly into jars. It was certainly ready – it’s more like paste than jelly, and it’s a bit dark. But I did it! it’s not burnt, and it tastes divine!
So next time I see quinces on my little tree you know what I’m going to be doing.
Enjoy the cheese platter & paste 🙂