This quince jelly recipe is really simple and works just as well on crumpets as it does with red meat and cheese. It can be expensive in the shops, even for the little tubs, so it's well worth making your own at home for a fraction of the price. The jelly has a really lovely texture that spreads over crumpets or toast really easily, as it does over crackers when served with cheese. It goes particularly well with Manchego, which is a hard cheese that's quite creamy and not too strong, and because the quince jelly isn't too sweet (much less so than jam), they go really well together.
- 3kg ripe quinces, unpeeled
- 1kg granulated or preserving sugar (or 500g to every 600ml of strained juice)
- Pared rind and strained juice of 2 lemons
Wash the quinces well and cut into chunks, removing any blemished or rotten parts – it’s fine to keep the skin on and the cores in. Put in a large pan and pour over enough water to just cover the fruit. Simmer until pulpy, which will take at least an hour.
Put the pulp into a jelly bag or muslin cloth and leave to drip for at least 4 hrs (or overnight).
Measure the juice (it’s likely to be about 1.25 litres) and pour it into a preserving pan. Stir in the sugar, adjusting the amount if you have more or less, the lemon rind, tied together in a piece of muslin, and the lemon juice.
Heat slowly, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil rapidly, skimming the scum off the top, until the jelly reaches setting point.
Pot into warm, dry jars, cover and seal. Serve your quince jelly on crumpets, muffins or toast, or with roast hot or cold meats, especially game.
Top tip for making Quince jelly
Quinces look rather like ugly apples and are rock-hard, even when ripe - but they do give out a beautiful perfume and are soft and fluffy when baked. These aren't actually found in hedgerows so you'll have to get them from someone you know who has a quince tree in their garden. Use the quince jelly within 12 months