If at first you don’t succeed…

Well, it’s not that we didn’t succeed last week, with a quince-focused canning bonanza. But bringing four jars back to Canada from New Jersey really didn’t quite seem like the winter jamming session I was looking for. So two of us took advantage of the California quinces in Toronto shops to try two recipes again. The quince ones, of course.

Quinces really are curious fruit, like an apple/pear cross with a fuzzy peach like coating that rubs off to reveal a shiny golden skin. The fruit itself is almost inedible raw,  and hard as hell to peel and core. Recommendations are a potato peeler to get the skin off, a large and heavy knife to quarter them and a melon baller to remove the stone-hard cores. Two people help as well. You can get quite a quince production line going.

After a quick taste test of last week’s adventure, we started with a variant of the quince juniper chutney, although we speeded things up by chopping everything in the food processor, and then using kitchen scissors to snip the large bits of onion that got left behind.  We added ginger for an extra kick, and I managed to screw up the measurements by forgetting how much I had weighed and then adding more vinegar by mistake. Here’s a guesstimate of what we did, adapted from “My Mum’s Quince Chutney”.

Quince juniper chutney (makes 8-9 250-gram jars)

2 kg quinces, peeled and cored, and grated in food processor
2 large onions, grated in food processor
2-1/2 cups of sugar
2 cups of white vinegar, 1 cup of cider vinegar
3-teaspoons of juniper berries lightly crushed
1-1/2-teaspoon salt
A 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
Lots of fresh ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a preserving kettle and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about two hours until it’s golden and almost boiled into a puree. (The recipe says deep pink and loose jam. I guess I used a different type of quince.) Stir regularly, to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Bottle in sterilized jars. Water bath 10 minutes.

It tastes pretty good right now. I think it will be even better in a couple of weeks, after the flavors meld together.

From there we moved on to the quince cranberry concoction from last week, again with a few tweaks, including a a shift toward more quince and less cranberry, more ginger and a notch less sugar. We added a spoonful of Chinese five-spice (which turned out to be a seriously inspired choice) and cooked it a lot less.

Quince cranberry jam (12 jars)

2 pounds fresh cranberries
2 pounds quince, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
8 ounces candied ginger, sliced very thin
1 tsp Chinese five-spice
4-1/2 cups sugar
5 cups water

Place sugar and water in a non-reactive pan and heat on low until sugar is dissolved, turn up heat and bring to the boil.
Add quince and five-spice and bring to the boil again. lower heat and simmer for a good hour until quince darkens and gets soft and syrup begins to thicken a little.

Add ginger slices and cranberries, bring back to the boil, continue boiling on medium-high until the cranberries pop and soften. Cook until it’s set — it took about 10 minutes.

Fill sterilized jars and water bath for 10 minutes.

The color is glorious, even more red than in the picture, with golden chunks of quince showing through the red. Canning buddy (and photographer) took half the jars, absent canning buddy gets half of the other half, which leaves one to give away and two for me. I can hardly wait.

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4 Comments »

  1. Ann said

    It looks great!

  2. I’m scared to think what you will do if we do plant a quince tree!

  3. And talk of less than five dozen jars a few weeks ago meant you were running low? ‘Cause I’m still in shock at the number of jars I have!

  4. A million things to do with a quince tree. Where do you want me to start?

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