Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Making Quince Jam

Let me just say for the record that I am not a person who cans. I don't know the first thing about canning, other than that my friend Hollie does a lot of it, is good at it, and makes wicked awesome fruit jams/jellies/wonderfulness. But the whole idea of sterilizing and boiling and timing and consistency has always seemed prohibitively overwhelming. So I stick to cookies, cakes, and curries.

Until I learned about the wonders of the quince. A fruit I had never heard of until I came to Iasi. But since quince jam is relatively common here, and since I have a quince tree in my backyard, I became curious. What are these little wonders? Well, they are a kind of funny-shaped, yellowish, really hard fruit. More importantly, what can I do with them? Pretty much make jam, because they're really bitter and not-edible raw, yet because they are a cousin to the rose (I mean, obvi, can't you see the family resemblance?) when you boil them for a long time they turn into a bright red, fragrant, sweet jam. They have a lot of pectin, so everything you need is all packed into this little guy.

Fair enough. So when they looked like they were ready for picking (ie, some were falling from the tree) I gathered a bunch, had Zeke climb up and pick some, and had Eli knock some of the high ones off with a long pole. I read various websites about making quince jam, and settled myself in to go for it. I ended up making two batches because there were so many. It's so so so good, and I have lots to give away because there is no way I'll ever eat it all. Here are a few pictures from the process. 

Some of the more "normal" looking quinces. Many had brown spots or sections with bugs, but with 30 of them I was able to still get loads of good fruit 

I cut them in chunks and then shredded them in a food processor. They turned brown really really quickly, much faster than apples do

Added the water and sugar and started boiling- it looked a bit like applesauce 

After about 2 hours of boiling, it was a nice reddish-orange and thickened to jam 

Turns out it's not so intimidating to sterilize jars and do the whole canning thang. This is batch one, and the second batch made almost as much. YUM YUM YUM!

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