Here's another quince recipe - quince jam is one of my favourites. It is a beautiful colour, and the tartness makes it a good alternative to marmalade on my morning toast. (I also really like marmalade, but i never have citrus in the quantities needed to make my own, and home-made trumps bought every time for me, even when we're talking about two slightly different products!)
And here's a little factoid for you... quince jam and marmalade are actually much more closely connected than you might realise; the term 'marmalade' originates in Portuguese, where quince jam is called 'marmelada'.
Despite the quince's yellow skin and pale flesh, when cooked into a jam, jelly or paste, the resulting product is a beautiful ruby red. And of course, there is that delicious fruity-floral aroma that reminds me of autumn whenever i smell it. Quince jam is a real treat, and a real beauty of this recipe is that you don't have to process the raw fruit, which is (literally) hard work as the raw fruit are so darned tough. You need a large, sharp knife and a good chopping board to deal with them raw, and watch out for your fingers when coring them!
Fruits that are high in pectin and acid make the best fruits for jam-making. The pectin, which is present in the skins, flesh and seeds of fruit to varying degrees is what helps the jam to set (along with the sugar). Acid helps to extract the pectin from the fruit, but also helps stabilise the colour of the jam and prevent crystallisation. Quinces, like feijoas, are rich in pectin but low in acid, so this recipe calls for some lemon juice, to up the acid and improve the setting quality of the jam. Remember that the ripeness of your fruit, speed of boiling and the size of your cooking pan will all determine at what point the jam will set.
MUM'S QUINCE JAM
Makes about 8 x 375g jars
2 kg quinces
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 litres water
2.6 kg sugar
Wipe the quinces well to remove the soft fuzz on the skin. Put in a pan with the water and lemon juice and simmer slowly over a low heat until soft (about 1 hour). The low heat will help extract the maximum amount of juice and pectin. When the fruit is tender take out of the pan with a slotted spoon and allow to cool enough to handle. Peel (the skin should now just slide off with a slight rub of your fingers), core, and cut into small pieces. (Mum cuts them into quarters, takes out the core and any hard bits, and then cuts them up in her hand with a (blunt!) bread and butter knife).
Add half the sugar to the water, stir to dissolve, then add the quinces and boil for half an hour. Lower the heat and add the remaining sugar. Stir until dissolved then increase the heat again. Boil until it sets when tested* - about 45 to 60 minutes after the second lot of sugar has been added. Allow the jam to stand for 5 minutes before bottling - this allows the pieces of fruit to be suspended evenly in the mixture. Bottle in sterilised, hot jars and cover immediately with sterilised lids.
*The Edmonds Cookbook says this about testing jams for setting: "Put a little jam on a cold plate. Leave to cool slightly. The mixture will set if the surface wrinkles when touched and a channel formed (when a finger is drawn through) remains open." When making jam i put a saucer in the freezer to make it nice and cold for the setting test.