This seems to be the year of maintenance and catch up. Those things you do every four, seven, or ten years on a house all managed to drift into 2016. Or it feels that way because with two homes, you get a double whammy. But it feels good to tick those things off the list so they aren’t nagging at me throughout the winter. I’ve also been systematically tackling the clutter inside the house. It’s amazing what you can do when your puppy is now an “adult”. With this extended warm spell pushing deeper into fall, we’ve been granted the time to tackle these end of summer tasks that sometimes get kicked to the following year. My parents left for California this weekend and our lives are resuming a routine of work, exercise, and perhaps a hint of a social life.
dinner at jax (boulder) with the folks before they flew to so cal
morning hike with neva who refuses to look at the phone
handed in my mail-in ballot so i could get my sticker
Earlier this month, a care package arrived for me from Seattle. I don’t get care packages that often, but when I do, they are always awesome because my friends and relatives who send care packages are the best kind of care package senders. This box of love came from my friend, Tea, who unlocked the ultimate care package achievement. It contained fresh quince she had picked from a tree (interesting or exotic or fresh food item), a hand-written letter (long lost tradition), a jar of homemade jam (handmade gift), and her latest book (her art). For me, it doesn’t get much better than this.
achievement unlocked: care package mastery
what to do with the quince
Quince are fascinating. They look like a peach-fuzzed cross between an apple and a pear, but the flesh is hard and tastes terrible raw. Once cooked, quince transforms into a divine sweet treat. I’ve gotten my hands on quince a couple of times in the past and made membrillo, but I wanted something simpler. Quince jam is a gooey version of membrillo, but it tastes just as lovely with less work.
sugar, water, quince, lemons
I’ve actually read that several recipes for quince jam make both quince jam AND quince jelly. Jam usually has fruit pulp in it whereas jelly is made from the fruit juice. Quince is naturally high in pectin, so there is plenty to go around. If you want to make jam and jelly, you can strain the liquid from the softened fruit pulp and each component can be processed further with sugar. I didn’t do that (I was short on time), so I went straight for the jam. Grating the quince can be a little messy as I had bits of quince flying all over my kitchen, and don’t fret if your quince turn brown because that will disappear when you cook it.
zest and juice the lemons
slice the quince in half
grate the quince, avoiding the stems and cores
sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, grated quince
Bring the water to a boil in a large cook pot and add the fruit, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Let this cook until the quince has softened. This should take about ten minutes. The water barely covers the quince in the pot. Stir in the sugar while bringing everything to a boil. Keep stirring until the sugar granules have dissolved completely.
adding quince, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the boiling water
stir in the sugar
Reduce the heat a little and let the jam simmer. Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. Nominally it should take 30 to 50 minutes and the quince should turn pink in color. I think my altitude prevented the jam from turning the right color, so I kept cooking until it became pinkish-orange. This made the jam quite thick at room temperature. I suggest cooking the quince jam until it reaches the right consistency rather than the right color. Keep a small plate in the freezer, drop a little blob of jam on it and let it sit in the freezer for a minute, then test for the desired consistency. Once the jam is ready, you can can it or store it in a jar in the refrigerator
cook the jam down
the jam will keep in the refrigerator for months
Quince jam is more versatile than its cousin, membrillo (quince paste), because it not only goes well with cheese or crackers, but it’s great on toast, scones, muffins, oatmeal, or yogurt. The flavor is similar to that of apples and pears, but with floral notes and hints of guava. If you can get fresh quince, I highly recommend making some jam for yourself or as a lovely homemade gift for others. It’s quite special.
nice with some aged manchego
brightens any snack
6 cups packed grated quince (rinsed, peel on) from about 2 lbs. of quince
4 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
4 cups granulated sugar
Slice each quince in half and grate around the core and stem until you have 6 cups of packed grated quince. Boil the water in a large pot. Add the grated quince, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the boiling water. When it returns to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the quince has softened (about 10 minutes). Stir the sugar into the quince. Increase the heat to high and bring the quince to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar granules. Reduce the heat to medium-high and let the quince cook uncovered for 30-50 minutes, stirring periodically until thickened to desired consistency (remember, it will be thicker when completely cooled). The jam may turn pink during the cooking process, but if it doesn’t, the taste and consistency of the jam should be fine. Makes 4 cups.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
|membrillo (quince paste)||tomato jam||fig and brandy jam||spiced plum jam|