…why didn’t anyone tell me….? *** Wow…! ***
My 2 young Cydonia quince trees are giving a bigger crop each year, and I was given 2lb of Japonica (Chaenomeles) quinces too. I kind of knew that the original marmelade was made with quinces, so I consulted some of my venerable rescued recipe books, had a go, and now I’m wondering why on Earth I spend so much on Seville oranges every year! I mixed recipes a bit, but have ended up with something I want to repeat, which is just as well, because I knocked on a neighbour’s door this afternoon & came away with another 4lb of Japonicas…
Basically I cut the 2lb of Japonicas in half & stewed them gently in 3 pints of water until they were very soft, then mashed them a bit. I poured the resulting brew into a muslin cloth over a sieve on a saucepan and waited until the dripping had subsided. As I wasn’t going for a clear jelly, I also gave it a gentle squeeze. Then I added a shake of cinnamon, the juice & zest of 2 lemons and 3 lbs of sugar, heated gently & stirred occasionally whilst the sugar dissolved. In the meantime I grated 1lb of the Cydonia quinces, co-incidentally using up all the slightly-damaged ones that wouldn’t keep. (If you’re after jelly, or just don’t have any tree quinces, you can skip this step and just use the same weight of sugar that you have of quinces.) I added the gratings to the syrup and let it simmer gently until the grated quinces became translucent. Then up went the heat until it reached a rolling boil, into the oven went the clean wet recycled jars & lids to scald, and about 20 minutes later it reached setting point. I waited a bit until it had started to congeal, then stirred well to redistribute the quince shreds, then into the hot jars it went.
When I poured it into the jars I couldn’t believe what a beautiful red-gold colour it had gone; both kinds of quince have yellow skin, with flesh best described as dark cream. There was only a tiny shake of cinnamon, and I used plain ordinary cheap white sugar; where did that glorious colour come from? It’s clear like marmelade, and tastes even better; tangy, clear, sharp & sweet at the same time, a real wake-me-up taste. Can’t wait for breakfast time tomorrow!