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?
If you add a spoonful of meths to a spoonful of the fruit syrup the pectin will form a clot. You can judge the pectin content by the firmness of the clot. If you tried it with black currants, gooseberries or plums it would usually show a loose clot which is still good enough for jam but with raspberries, strawberries or black berries there would be barely a trace of clotting. To avoid adding a commercial gelling agent (or loads of lemons), a good way to increase the pectin content is to add apple syrup. I usually keep some frozen ready for the following Summer jam making.
This is what a firm clot looks like - this one was from crab apples.
That's good to know. I tired stewing crab apples last year to make pectin but failed miserably. Might try again this year.
Did you just boil the crab apples and take off the liquid for pectin?
Yes. The same process as for quinces except that it's easier with apples.
Some FP based friends got rid of a recent apple glut by donating them to a food hub at Manor Gardens. Perhaps there is something similar in Haringey?
What kind of press do you use to make juice with?
I may be interested in the quinces if they are still available. A friend and I are keen preservers too. Are there any left?
I made quince gin one year.
Thanks Sarah for this idea. I intend to try it.
I am glad to say, Sarah, that my first try at quince gin has turned out pretty well. That's an addition to the repertoire.
Well done for all that....I wouldn't mind a quince or two. Also wondering what else can be done with quinces besides jelly.
Sorry Roslyn, all the surplus quinces have gone.