Since rain returned, after the unusually hot dry period, my garden has quickly recovered some of its health. My Bramley tree had shed about three quarters of its leaves and a lot of undersized apples but this has now stopped. I have pressed four loads of these apples apples which in a normal year would have yielded very tart juice. Oddly, the juice from these four batches turned out to be sweeter than anything we have previously had. It looks as though the remaining apples will be bigger and our crops of eaters will be better than usual.
On Sunday, I noticed that the quinces had swelled quickly and some had dropped so I harvested the lot. Here they are, some slightly misshapen but only a few damaged by squirrels. I suppose they prefer the hard pears which are more plentiful and less useful (to me).
I processed 4 kg of these to make 14 jars of quince chutney. The question is, what to do with the rest, another 12 kg. Quince and chilli jelly anyone?
Dick, as ever I am impressed with you preserving efforts. Well done. Amazed that the apples survived the hot dry conditions from early summer.
If you have spare quinces you will not use I am happy to take some off your hands to make quince jelly with. Let me know and I can arrange to pop over.
I have sent you a message Justin.
Well done Dick, go to the top of the class ;o)
You can make 'membrillo' - a thick quince paste which the Spaniards eat with Manchego cheese. (It would make a good gift.)
Sadly, when I tried making membrillo last time there was a good crop, the result was disappointing. Also, I seem to remember the process was even more difficult than chutney.
Quince and chilli sounds like an excellent idea.
I bought a few really hot chilies today in readiness.
I made some Quince Jelly over the weekend. I used about 4 kg of quince, got about 3kg of liquid and ultimately made about 14 small jars of jelly.
I bought a pack of scotch bonnets from Sains, and used 4 (de-seeded) of then.
I actually chopped them very finely and added them to the liquid on day 2 hoping for an effect of having some chilli evident in the jelly. It took longer than expected to get a set so they pretty much dissolved into the jelly. The jelly has a very dark red colour, darker than I remember seeing the last time I made any.
Anyway. They have a bit of a kick, so use less than 1 per kg if you are looking for a bit less zing, and do not waste time chopping finely like I did if you intend to cook them down!
Thanks for this timely advice Justin. I am part way through the process and had been wondering about quantities.
I tried to find some advice online Dick and did not get much clarity, so I made it up... haha Let me know what you did and how you get on.
I started with about 4kg of quinces roughly cut up and boiled them for an hour or two. Then I mashed them with a potato masher and hung the pulp up in a net to drain. Too little syrup dripped out so I whizzed up the pulp with a hand blender and a couple of litres of boiling water. After hanging this lot up I ended up with 2.1 litres of pretty thick syrup. A test showed it was rich in pectin. I quartered five hot chilies, boiled them, whizzed them, poured the slurry through a sieve and kept the liquid on one side. Today I added a little more boiled water to the syrup, boiled it and added 2.5 kg of sugar. I added the chili slurry in stages to avoid the risk of over doing it. In the end most of the slurry went in and the resulting jelly is pleasingly hot. I judged the setting point partly by a test on a cold plate and partly by the fact that my maslin pan has a volume scale and I knew that, at the right time, there should be 3.5 litres of liquid. There are ten jars containing 400g each. This is just what is expected from 2.5kg of sugar because properly set (and self preserving) jams and jellies should be 60% sugar by weight.
That is an interesting walk through Dick.
I cut my quince into 1-2cm cubes, and just covered with water, and got about 3l of liquid out of my 4kg. I actually strained the liquid through a colander first, then ran that through a fine sieve as I find the muslin gets blocked very quickly. I then hung the remaining pulp (still in its cube form just about) and collected that liquid too. I know it says never squeeze the bag, but I did (and I do) and got a bit more out (I should have measured it, but I reckon about 300ml). I did not squeeze too much as it would have had pulp coming through and making the final jelly cloudy.
You said you tested your initial liquid for pectin, how did you do that Dick, the classic cold plate in a fridge that you used at the end as well? Or, some other approach?
I am interested in your approach to adding more water if needed. I felt mine might have boiled down a little too much (I could not initially see sufficient set when I tested, so I kept going). I may have over boiled it, and did not think to add more water back in to soften what is now a very stiff jelly.