Quince jelly, with its pinky, orange-blush colour and sweet floral taste is like no other fruit jelly; it’s a favourite on our cheese platters at Desert Heart.
- 1 kg quinces
- 2 litres water
- 1 lemon – halved
Wash the quinces to remove the down-like covering . Chop the fruit roughly. There is no need to peel or core as the skins and pips will add vital pectin to the jelly (pectin is required to ensure a good set.), though cut out any bruising or damaged areas.
Place the chopped quinces into a preserving pan or a large saucepan and cover with the water. Add the halved lemon. Slowly bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer briskly for about one hour or until the quinces are soft. Turn off the heat and allow the quinces to cool for 2-3 hours, or if wished leave overnight.
Transfer the quinces and the cooking liquid to a jelly bag (or line a large colander with several layers of cheese cloth/muslin or even a clean chux cloth) and hang so that the juice can drip into a bowl or clean saucepan below. Do not be tempted to squeeze the fruit pulp as this will make the jelly cloudy. The bag must hang above the juice collecting beneath.
Measure the juice and return to the preserving pan or large saucepan, adding 1 cup sugar for each 1 cup of juice. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil for 15 minutes and then test for a setting point – see below. If required, continue to boil rapidly until the jelly gives a set. As scum appears on top of the jelly, skim it off.
To tell when a jelly or jam has reached setting point, once the jam or jelly has been boiled for the stated time, remove from the heat. Place a small amount – about one teaspoon, onto a cool plate and set aside for a few moments. Run you finger though the pool of jelly and if there is a definite divide the jelly will have boiled sufficiently. If the jelly runs back together, then it requires further boiling time. Return to the boil and test again after 3-4 minutes. Always remove the preserve from the heat when testing.
Carefully remove from the heat and place the hot preserving pan on a chopping board. When the bubbles have subsided – about 2-3 minutes, carefully bottle the very hot jelly into clean, hot, dry jars and seal immediately. Label when cold.