We have an ornamental quince shrub in our back yard, and I thought it might be fun to try and make some quince jelly. I’ve never made jelly by myself, or really done any canning on my own, so I read up on it and began to feel a bit intimidated. But I soldiered on, excited about the idea of making my very first jelly.
Quince are a fruit that have enough natural pectin that none needs to be added. So all I had to do was cook the quince, drain the juice, add some sugar and lemon juice and cook away. Sounds easy enough. I got all the canning equipment ready and heated, and started to cook.
Now, I should mention, I didn’t harvest very many quince, and I didn’t know how much it would make – I ended up with 1 1/2 cups of juice – so I only prepped two jars. I cooked the sugar-juice mixture, figuring it wouldn’t take as long as a full batch. And it didn’t. In fact, it cooked so quickly I was worried it had burned.
I checked regularly with a sheeting test on a spoon, but obviously need a bit more practice, because it looked like it was still dripping quickly off the spoon, but ended up gelling onto the spoon quite firmly. My husband likened it to a fruit roll-up! Unfortunately, once it cooled in the jar, it was even more solid…in fact, completely solid!
My first jar of jelly (yes, I only ended up with one jar) is more like a giant hard candy in a glass wrapper, which I may never get out, but at least I have a better idea of how it’s supposed to go. And I also still have a shrub full of quince so I can try again!