Have I mentioned to you how much I love Quinces?
They are simply magical
Nothing in this world (almost) compares to the inimitable aroma of ripe Quince.
Nothing rivals it’s colour when cooked.
There should be a name given to describe the intensity of the colour of quince jelly.
How would you describe it? Flaming apricot? Blushing Orange? Sreaming Rose? Jellyfied fire? Burning Flamingo, hell’s tongue searing tea, furious robocop eyeball? Vulcanco’s puke? Mutant gators blood? Queen Roxanne’s Poison? Ifyoueatthisyourintestinewillshrivelandcatchfire jelly?
Ok ok, I have children, remember? It rubbs off!
It’s just that simply looking at a jar of vibrantly orange quince jelly does these things to me.
More Quince to come if you can spot them in the picture.
Originating in the Caucasus region, Quinces traveled via Greece (especially Crete, where it got it’s name), to Central Europe which started cultivating the fruit in the ninth century.
Over here it thrives best in the warmer areas of the Rhine regions (sorry to Hamburgers and Bavarians…so sorry, one thing they have got, not!)
Thankfully it thrives in my garden. The fruit fills my fridge with it’s aroma and the past weeks I have been happily making jars and jars of jelly.
Many cooks shy back from preparing quince, but it is really very versatile and this autumn you will probably find many posts on quince on meals’nwheels. (Hurray? Not? C’mon, don’t be childish. Broaden your mind and your taste buds will follow!)
Unlike the french who eat fruit jellies all year round, the germans eat Quince paste for Christmas, where it mingles with all the other exotic, oriental, flavours of our christmas specialties. Quince paste however is a good way of preserving the flavour for a long time and it’s a staple that can be used later in Winter.
Preheat oven to 150 °C.
Rub the Quinces with a cloth to remove the down.
Put on a baking tray and cover with foil, bake for 1 to 1.1/2 hours, depending on their size, until they are cooked and soft.
Remove from the oven and let cool till you can touch and handle them. Cut the fruit in quarters, remove the tough core and any other tough pieces.
Push flesh and skins through a vegetable mill, or blitz everything in a food processor.
Weigh the pulp and put an equal amount of sugar into a saucepan, add the pulp and bring to the boil. Stir until the quince darkens significantly in colour and comes away from the sides of the pan. (Takes forever: up to 30 minutes).
I have to admit: I have been using a Thermomix, heating AND stirring the pulp. Painfree Quince paste. And loads of it too! If you want Instructions for this, let me know.
Pour onto a flat surface (onto parchment) and leave to set. I let it rest and dry for about a week. Than, using a ruler cut the pulp into equal squares, coat with sugar and keep away from my friend Esther (That´s actually unfair and ungrateful of me. She eats everything I put in front of her. With relish. That is just soo charming, and supportive.) till Christmas…
Whatever Paste you don´t use straightaway: roll up in parchment. It will store for month, and we will probably be using it with some pheasant, later on this winter…
For Jelly: cut your fruit in slices and boil in lots of water for an hour. Sieve the fruit (don´t press!), weigh the juice, add equal amount of sugar (we have a special jam making sugar here in Germany, containing pectin so jams and jellies will set using only half the amount of sugar), bring to the boil, skimming the top, till the jelly starts setting. Pour into jars, close turn around and let cool.
Listen to Nancy Sinatra. (I thought give it a try whilst I am bossing you around anyway)
Ladybird. Ohhh ladybird.
Quince Jelly anyone?