Sunday, 10 October 2010


I have a quince tree.  It was a birthday present from DH, some years ago. It was a year od or so when he bought it.   We knew that it takes some years before Quinces become productive, so we weren't surprised when in our first (it was 2) we had nothing; our 2nd year (aged 3) we had only 1 fruit;  year 3 (aged 4), 3 fruits.   We had expected year 4 (aged 5) would be a bumper year, but it wasn't.  Quinces (and many apples) suffered with the weather.

This year we had one fruit, very low down.  It got henpecked.

Last year, my neighbour asked me if I could make anything with her ornamental quinces (japonicas). I made some unimpressive jam.   This year, despite last year's less-than-successful attempt, she brought more japonicas round. 

So, I decided to try Japonica Jelly.  I started to follow an online recipe, one which sepcifically mentioned Japonicas.   It said to wash the japonicas, and chop roughly. No need to peel, core, de-seed or destalk.

I used the food processor to chop them up, which it did magnificently and rapidly.  I put them on to simmer, set the timer for 2 hours (2 hours!) and I suddenly wondered if I could pressure cook them.  Surely, even if I just gave them a head start, it would be better than 2 hours! 

Margeurite Patten (un the excellent Basic Basics Pressure Cooking) doesn't mention quinces, but she does mention crab apples. Not the same, but not dissimilar.  So, I put them on to pressure cook instead.

The smell filled the was heavenly!   And after 8 minutes steaming, I turned the heat off and let the pressure cooker return to room temperature at its own pace.   Then I schlooped all the pulp - and it was lovely and mushy - into a straining bag.  The liquid is a gorgeous pink colour - but it isn't clear.  That's a shame.  I tasted some of the pulp. I've tried to find a smilie which shows a lemon-sucking face, but I can't.  

So, I have to leave it dripping overnight, and then I'll make Jelly tomorrow.  It's always tricky to do this and to keep both the receptacle and the straining bag protected from flies...but this year, I have my pressure canner.  So I've stood the bowl, with the strainer on top, inside the canner. And I can get the lid on, so all will be protected.

Roll on tomorrow.

I have lots more Japonicas, so I'm really hoping this tastes good. If I make a second batch, I might try NOT chopping the japonicas up first.   But  I am tempted to try Japonica vodka.  I could perhaps adapt my Blackcurrant Vodka recipe, which is a bit farty, but gives a really intense flavour.  Mm. Maybe.  Let's see what the Jelly tastes like first.

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