Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All for Quince!

Quince is known as one of the best fruits for jelly's and preserves.  A couple years ago, I stole a baby shoot from my in-laws backyard. (Old wives tale - if you 'steal' a plant, it's more likely to grow and flourish.) This tree has grown into a beautiful 12ft sight, flowering pinkish white buds in late spring.  (And, yes, they eventually found out.) This is the first year that the tree fruited to such an extent, I was able to make my first preserve/jelly. Now, in all honesty, the key to this recipe is measurement, meaning: everything depends on how much fruit you have. For the Quince preserve, I took a giant mixing bowl and filled it with water and two teaspoons of lemon juice. (Lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. But- don't be surprised if it still does a little.) I peeled all the quince very carefully, literally trying to remove only the tough skin. 'Organic' or what I call backyard fruit, really looks imperfect, with holes, dimples, and darkened spots. Remove any darkening areas. After your fruit is all peeled and is soaking in the 'lemon water', get another large bowl, we'll call it #2, and do the same. (Fill it with water and two teaspoons of lemon juice.)   Next, start grating the fruit. All grated fruit should be placed in bowl #2. After your fruit is grated, strain it. Measure in cups how much grated fruit you have. Place that in a cooking pot, NOT made of stainless steel or non-stick surfaces. The pot I use has a white coated interior. Now, you will need only 1/2 the amount of water. So.... If you have 6 cups of fruit, you will only add 3 cups of water. For the sugar, you will need one less cup than you have of the fruit. So, it would be 5. All ingredients should be added at once. Then cook for about 1 hour. Bring it to a boil then reduce it to low heat. I have a gas stove, and usually keep the flame on low to med. The grated fruit will become iridescent when it's ready. Some like to add a sprig of vanilla bean in the jar for flavor. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy it on toasted bread and buns.

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