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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quince and Pomegranate Jelly

 Quince are like magic. They are one of Nature's great pectin suppliers. Pomegranates and quinces both make their brief appearance at the farmers' market around the same time of year. I love the bright, jewel-toned color and tangy flavor of pomegranates. I wanted to make a pomegranate jelly without commercial pectin, so blending the juice with quince juice seemed like the perfect solution.
 One of my friends told me that farm families used to always have at least one quince tree to provide for their preserving needs. I was unable to get good photos of my quince, as I processed them the night before I made this jelly. They are a fuzzy, bumpy apple relative. Besides their gelling properties, their outstanding feature is their floral fragrance. Additionally, they turn a vibrant pink color when cooked. To cook them and extract their juice, scrub off their fuzzy coating and cut out the blossom end. Chop roughly, retaining the skin, core and seeds. Boil them in a large pot, covered with water, until they are very broken down and soft.
 I purchased 10 quinces and 10 pomegranates. I simmered the quinces for a couple of hours in 12 cups of water and strained the juice through cheese cloth and then a jelly bag. The result was 7 cups of juice, which I refrigerated until I was ready to get going. I cut the pomegranates into eighths and squeezed the heck out of them with my citrus juicer. This resulted in 3 cups of strained juice. Combined, I had 10 cups of juice, which was enough to make two batches of the following recipe. Generally, for a good jelly set, it is recommended to use 3/4 cup sugar per cup of juice. This is pretty darn sweet, but it is a true old-timey jelly. If you want a brighter flavor, use a recipe with more pomegranate juice and use a commercial pectin. This will give you a stronger pomegranate flavor and will shorten the cooking time significantly.

Quince and Pomegranate Jelly
5 cups combined quince and pomegranate juice
3 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Prepare jars, lids and the boiling water bath. Place some spoons and saucers in the freezer.

Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil until it reaches the gel stage, about 220 degrees. My thermometer is currently broken, so I tested the jelly by looking for the foam to subside, watched for the jelly to sheet off a spoon, and then tested on a frozen saucer. When a teaspoon of cool jelly wrinkles when pushed, it is done!

Remove from the heat and skim any remaining foam. Carefully ladle into prepared jars and top with lids. Process in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars to a towel lined tray and allow to cool overnight. Wipe away any moisture and label in the morning.

Makes 5 half pint jars.
I think folks will like getting this for Christmas!

3 comments:

  1. Will definitely make this next year!
    Maybe this...but I've got so many things on my to do list. Just about to make pomegranate liqueur.

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    1. Yummy! I bet it will be beautiful. I hope to see it on your blog.

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