This week on Good Food, Laura Avery talks to Jessica Koslow of Sqirl Confitures about how she likes to preserve quince. Jessica shares some history and a recipe with us today…
From Jessica Koslow
While this jelly takes two days to make, it doesn’t require much attention until its final cook. The end result is so rewarding – an elegant preserve woven with history dating back to the 15th century. The portuguese exported luxury goods, such as sugar and sweet wine to Tudor England. Along with these products, the portuguese sent along a national staple – a quince (called Marmelo in Portuguese) and sugar confection (a marmelada or in Spain called Membrillo) delicately flavored with Rose Water. In this recipe, I honor the traditional pairing in jelly form.
Approximately 4 pounds of ripe pineapple (or other variety) quince
1 pound 7 ounces cane sugar (white sugar is fine too)
1.5 ounces of lemon juice
1 ounce rose water
Take a dry cloth and rub the quince to remove fuzz. Rinse and cut into quarters – first checking to make sure the fruit is free from ‘visitors’ and then chop each section roughly further. No need to peel or core as we will be straining the fruit through cheese cloth. The point is to obtain as much flavor and pectin from the fruit as possible so all parts are welcome here.
Place the fruit in a large stock pot and add water just to barely to cover. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer — place lid overtop. Cook for about an hour – until the fruit is incredibly soft to the point of being mashed easily.
Take a potato masher and do an easy mash. Not too tedious – just enough to break up any large pieces.
Pour the contents from the pot through a mesh colander lined with cheese cloth (I like butter muslin – which can be reused and found here!). The colander should be sitting on top of a container that will catch all the clear liquid that drips through the cloth. Place colander in the fridge overnight.
Please read and follow the USDA guidelines if you are wanting to can and leave the result unrefrigerated until opening. Also, feel free to friend the Master Food Preservers of Los Angeles on Facebook and ask us any canning question you may have.
Place plates in the freezer and have an addition plate near the stove with a ladle a spoon and a spatula on it. You will also want a skimmer (easily found in chinatown at a restaurant supply store) handy in a small bowl of water.
Weigh out the sugar, lemon juice and rose water.
Take the remaining liquid and weight it. It should be close to 2 pounds 2 ounces. If your liquid weight is different and you want to find out how much sugar you need to add to make this recipe multiply the weight of the liquid by .65. (Please note that there are 16 ounces in a pounds so the numbers after the decimal reflect a percentage of a pound. For example, “1.43 is equal to 1pound and an additional 43% of 1 pound which would be 16ounces x .43 = near 7 ounces) Place the collected liquid into a pot and bring to a boil, then add the sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine.
Let the liquid come to a boil and stir infrequently with the spatula as the temperature reaches 220 degrees. You may see scum (particles) come to the surface and you may use the skimmer to ‘clarify’ the jelly. As the temperature gets to around117 degrees you will want to do freezer tests. Freezer tests are when a small dab of preserve is placed on a frozen plate which is placed back into the freezer. A minute later, check the set by pushing your index finger (starting closest toward you) outward slowly. If you see wrinkles – like a furrowing of the brow – you’ve reached the desired set. For this type of jelly it will set between 220 – 221 degrees. When the jelly has almost set (almost at 220 degrees – oh, It’s so close!) add the rosewater and cook for 1 minute longer.
Remove from heat and let cool for 30 seconds. Skim the top to remove the remaining impurities and “squirrel away” as instructed by the USDA or transfer to a jar for refrigeration.