The wonders of quince – earlier this year, following a glut of quinces and in response to a suggestion from a listener who rang in to the Jams and Preserves segment, I tried freezing quinces. Normally if I’ve frozen them it has been stewed for future use in pies and tarts, a bit labour instensive if you’re short on time.
However this year I just threw about 10 kilos in the freezer – put them whole in bags in about 1kg lots and hoped for the best. It has been a great success. This morning I just threw some in a pot and covered them with water. As they cooked they thawed of course, so I just chopped them a bit with kitchen scissors to break them up to release all their juices and pectin. I have now made quince jelly with a mere half the fuss and bother.
Remember this next autumn when quinces are in season. As an additional point, I tried peeling one, not that I needed to for the jelly, and found that in their frozen state it is much easier. I tried chopping them as well, as they thawed just a little, also much easier – I’ll certainly be doing it this way when I next make quince conserve.
One final thing – before freezing them, just rub off the furry bloom if there is any (if quinces are ripe, there is usually little if any on them). Do this with a dry teatowel.
Should you want or need a recipe for quince jelly, here it is:
If scum forms on the top of the jelly as it’s cooking, simply remove with a slotted spoon.
Makes 1.75 litres, approximately
Juice 1 lemon
Rub the quinces with a tea towel to remove the furry ‘bloom’ . Wash and chop into 2.5cm pieces, approximately. Place in a large saucepan with the lemon juice and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the quinces are very tender. Strain through a colander, then the resulting juice through a sieve or colander lined with a double thickness of muslin. (If you don’t have muslin, you can just use an old pillowcase, single layer).
For each cup of liquid add 1 cup of sugar. Bring to the boil and boil briskly for 20 to 30 minutes or until setting point is reached. To check for set, place 2 teaspoons of the mixture on a chilled saucer and place in the fridge for a few minutes. If the mixture sets, then your jelly is ready.
Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately. The jam can be eaten as soon as it cools.
Refrigerate after opening.