Ages ago, my neighbour, Renate, brought over (or rather up, as in hill) a book she thought I may like. It was called Home-Made and at a fraction of the cost by Polly Pinder. It is a gem of a book. Just the type of book I love. It covers so many things, eg, making bread, sweets, preserves, cosmetics, soaps, etc. There is a chapter for each. I quickly wrote down a few of the recipes and gave the book back. When I was in Willunga recently, I went to a charity book sale and there it was. All books were $2.00. I LOVE a find like that. Mine is hard covered, toooo. It was first published in 1983; mine is the 1984 reprint. The paperback version was published in 1984.
Keep a look out for it next time you visit an Op Shop.
One of the recipes I wrote out of Renate’s book was Spiced Quince Jelly for, you see, I have a quince tree.
1.5 kg quinces,scrubbed and roughly chopped
2 lemons, chopped (skin and all)
6 allspice (These are a bit tricky to find. I didn’t have any so I used ½ tsp allspice powder but I, subsequently, found some.)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp mace
small piece fresh ginger, chopped
2.5 litres of water
Put all ingredients (except the sugar) into a large pot and bring to the boil, then gently simmer for at least 45 minutes or until the fruit is soft.
Pour all the contents of the pot into a jelly bag or cloth-lined colander or whatever you use that will do the job. Wait until all the fluid drips out. All the recipes say don’t squeeze the bag but who could possibly resist it, especially when you can see lots of fluid that hasn’t gone through? It is up to you.
Measure your juice.
For every one pint of fluid (570mls), add 1lb (450g) of sugar.
Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then boil rapidly until the temperature is 105˚C. Test to see if it has set; if not, add some lemon juice or home-made or commercial pection then bring back to 105˚C and test again. It took a long time to reach 105˚C so maybe a little less water could be used (see below). After the first time, I added a jar of my home-made pectin (click here for the recipe) and the juice of 2 lemons. The second time I was happy with the set.
Remove all the scum from the jelly and then pour into sterilised jars.
It clearly makes a difference how much fluid you use. I also made quince jelly the other day with the same amount of fruit, 1.75 litres of water, ½ cup of lemon juice and equal quantities of sugar to juice. I boiled the fruit and the water for an hour.
The reduced amount of water made a big difference. I ended up with hardly any fluid and what was there was gelling in the bag. I had to keep reheating it to get any fluid to flow through. In the end, I only got one jar of jelly. There were no problems with this lot setting. Maybe the additional sugar also helped.
I think 2.25 litres of water for both recipes may be a good compromise.