Written by Phil Brown, Badger Bushcraft Blog Sunday, 09 October 2011 10:47
Recent inspiration from some friends meant we have decided to make some delicious seasonal fare with the Quince (Cydonia oblong) a pome fruit that looks like a mixture of both an apple and a pear. In this Badger Bushcraft Wild Food Blog we will show you how to make a simple yet scrumptious quince jelly.
With our recent success with the whitebeam jelly, being enjoyed by clients and friends alike, we needed to stock up with another seasonal accompaniment to both campfire cooking and either hunted or harvested wild foods.
There are several quince trees that grow locally to our base here in Kent but sadly all of this season's quince fruit was spoken for. It was therefore a delight to find that our good friend Helen Baird, owner of Pluckley Farm Shop, had an abundance of them in stock from one of her supplier's of exceptional quality Kentish provisions.
We purchased 3kg of fresh quince, 2kg for this recipe and 1kg for another involving brandy based on an inspiring idea from our friend Matt Smith.
For this quince jelly recipe we used:-
- • 2kg Quince
- • 2.5ltrs Water
- • 800g Caster Sugar
- • A Large Maslin or Jam Pan
- • Jelly Bag Or Muslin
- • Sterilised Jars And Lids
We washed, cored and sliced the quince thinly and from the initial 2kg of fruit we placed 1.5kg of slices into our Maslin or jam pan with 2.5ltr of cold water and brought that to the boil on the gas hob.
We simmered the concoction for some 25 minutes by which time the quince had become soft enough to then pulp in the pan with a potato masher.
After a further 30 minutes of gently simmering the mashed quince pulp we initially filtered this through a sieve and collected the liquor into a pan.
The sieved liquor was then filtered through a jelly bag and the liquid collected, this method greatly reduces having to filter the pulp for many hour even possibly overnight!
As the liquid filters the Maslin or jam pan can be washed as it is needed in the final stage of the process.
After filtering 1ltr of quince liquor was produced which we heated before adding 800g of caster sugar, 400g per 500ml of liquid. We find that caster sugar dissolves far quicker than granulated sugar and tend to use this in most recipes that require the use of sugar.
We brought this to the boil whilst stirring to ensure the sugar was fully dissolved.
Our method of sterilizing jars and lids is to wash the jars in hot water and then place them into a preheated oven at 170°C for about 5 minutes. One has to use caution with the lids are as they have a plastic internal seal that would be damaged by excessive heat, so for these we place them in a Pyrex jug and pour boiling water over them and leave them to soak. This method avoids the use of chemicals and detergents and has always preserved our jams, jellies, pickles, etc. without any problems.
After boiling for an initial 20 minutes we tested the thickening liquid by dripping half a teaspoon of it onto a small plate that had been chilled in the fridge. Once the drips of liquid begin to set and form a skin the heat can be turned off, the jelly left to cool and skimmed of if necessary and the cooling jelly can then be bottled into sterilized jars. This recipe made just over 1kg of quince jelly.
Now that the quince jelly is stored in jars it will be used to accompany wild fare and cheeses into the festive season and beyond - if it is not eaten before then!