Laura Avery chats with Robin Smith of Mud Creek Ranch, who has brought in her limited supply of quince. This apple-like fruit is suspected to be the original fruit in the Garden of Eden. It's hard and when ripe doesn't soften but turns yellow. Robin likes to scrub off the fuzz from the skin, core it, drizzle syrup on it and then place it whole in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. It makes a delicious dessert. Quince are very high in pectin, the thickening ingredient needed for jams and jellies. Mud Creek will have the fruit for only one more week.
Chef T. Nicolas Peter of The Little Door restaurant and The Little Next Door loves to make quince paste and quince jelly this time of year. You can make both the jelly and the paste in the same process.
Quince Jelly and Quince Paste
2 pounds of ripe and fragrant quince
4 cups of water
2 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 leaves of rose geranium (optional)
Wash the quince to remove the fuzz on the skin. Peel and core the quince. In a pot place the peels and core, add the water. Boil for about a half an hour. Strain and set aside. Slice the quince add the boiling water solution. Simmer for about one hour. Line strainer with cheese cloth. Pour quince in and tie with string. Hang in refrigerator so liquid drains into container. Let it drain overnight.
To make Quince Jelly
Place the drained liquid in a heavy pot. Add equal part of sugar and cooking liquid. Add lemon juice. Boil rapidly to a temperature of 220ºF. Infuse the geranium for a minute then remove. Place in Mason jar and sterilize.
To make Quince Paste
In a fine food mill puree the cooked drained quinces. Place in wide and shallow pot equal part of the puree and sugar. Add 1/4 cup of water to each cup of quince puree. Cook slowly to allow sugar to dissolve. Bring to a boil and stir frequently to avoid scorching. When cooked the paste will come away from the sides of the pot and the color will become dark red (it will take about 45 minutes.) Before it cools quickly pour a ¾” layer on a pre-oiled sheet pan. Cover the top with cheese cloth, Set aside in a cool place for 4 days. Cut in desired shapes layered with paper liner or fresh bay leaves. Seal in tight container, do not refrigerate.
Farmer Elmer Lehman grows Thompson Seedless and Red Flame grapes. His Thompsons are turning amber and you can find some super sweet raisins on the bunches.
Music break: Tokyo Dancer by Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra