Baking - General

Quince Jelly Success!

Despite my disappointing failure with making quince jelly a few weeks ago, I pulled up my boot straps and decided to try again. As I type I am hearing several jar lids pop into place, securing the tasty jelly into its new home.

I made about six cups of quince juice a couple weeks ago, but because I had several other baking projects on the go I wasn’t able to make the jelly right away, so I froze the juice. This weekend I had some free time, and was stuck inside because it was dismally rainy, so I decided to give it a go.

After prepping all the jars, lids and equipment, I double checked that my thermometer was working properly. When I put it in boiling water, it registered 102C, meaning that the boiling point was different either because of the sea level, or because my thermometer was not calibrated. The recipe said to boil the juice (and sugar) to four degrees celcius above the local boiling point, so I aimed to boil it to 106C.

Once the juice hit 106C I removed the pot from the stove, and tested with a spoon for sheeting. To me it did not look like it was sheeting, but the liquid that was coating the spoon seemed to be gelling as it cooled, so I declared it ready for canning. I was able to fill five jars with the amber jelly, and in the time it took me to write this post all the lids have all popped.

Quince is not a commonly used fruit – definitely too hard and sour to eat on its own. It makes a tart and aromatic jelly, the kind that makes your mouth water as soon as it hits your tongue. And my tongue is very excited about having some with crackers and cream cheese!

Baking - General

Quince Candy? My Adventure with Canning

Straining cooked quince for juice.

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!

One lonely jar of quince candy!

Boiling the sugar-juice mixture for jelly.