how to solve a problem like a quince
Or more specifically - how long will a split quince last once picked? Will it last in the fridge/cold storage? Can I cut and freeze it?
I found a couple on the ground yesterday and figured that meant they were ripe so I picked the tree. I was planning to cut away the exposed spots and work with the rest of the fruit but the tree yielded a lot of fruit this year (about 100 quince; 70 split) so I don't think I can deal with them all in a day. I regularly have a pretty busy work week (I have other commitments nearly every evening after work hours) which means I most likely won't get to them again until next weekend.
This is only the second time I've been able to harvest quince from the tree. I made jelly and membrillo a couple of years ago and they were so wonderful. I definitely want to make more of those as well as experiment with them since there was so much fruit this year.
Thanks in advance for your advice! :)
Hey missclawdy! Sorry I didn't see your request sooner, I kind of fell off Chowhound for a bit.
I've made quince jelly only a couple of times and have been happy with the results. I'm not sure why yours turned into syrup - maybe it was cooked too long? Last fall I experimented with some leftover peels and cores in my crockpot and got syrup instead of jelly. Overcooking is my guess but I don't know for sure.
The recipe I use is from the 1977 edition of Reader's Digest's Creative Cooking (admittedly not a gourmet book but it's one of my few connections to home). The jelly is a beautiful dark red-orange colour. I also tried a recipe using added pectin and it ends up a light pink-peach colour; I think that recipe was in the booklet included with the canning jars. I don't remember it tasting too different so it may just be a matter of what colour you prefer.
Here's my abbreviated version of the RD recipe (I just pared down their instructions and added some notes of my own):
2 lbs quince
7.5 cups water
1 tbsp citric acid (I used fresh lemon juice)
sugar (depends on yield of extracted quince juice)
Chop, mince or grate fruit - no need to peel or core, you want the pectin from all of these parts. However, fresh quince is fuzzy and very hard - wash first and be sure to have a really good sharp knife. Simmer all chopped fruit (seeds, peels, cores and all) on gentle heat in only 5 cups of water until very soft and tender (maybe an hour?).
Strain through at least three layers of cheesecloth for 15 minutes into a large bowl. Do not squeeze or you'll end up with cloudy jelly.
Add the fruit pulp back to the pot with the remaining 2.5 cups of water, simmer for 30 minutes and strain for 1 hour. Mix the two extracts together and measure the number of cups you have - for every 2 cups of juice, use 2-2.5 cups of sugar.
Bring the juice and sugar to a rapid boil for about 10 minutes or until set point is reached. Pour jelly into sterilized jars, seal and process in a canner.
The last time I made this jelly was two years ago, so I don't remember how many jars it yielded in the end, sorry. (Last year I made quincesauce with the quinces by mixing them with apples from the yard, hence the peels and cores experiment.)
Hope your jelly turns out lovely! Here's a photo of mine - in the quince tree the fruit came from :)
re: jubilant cerise
This was a nice surprise - thank you so much. I am assuming you are in British Columbia? I am in Ontario - don't have a Quince tree of my own but can buy them at market around September. You have made me excited to try again. If you ever have access to Rose Geranium leaves add some of them - you can leave them in or strain them (I order the plants from a Supplier here).
So they'll last even though they've split?
No frost yet - just cold (around 10 degrees Celsius) and rainy for the past several weeks. I'm on the Canadian westcoast so the fall and winter weather here is pretty mild. I've picked the quince before and not had any problem using the fruit but there's just so much of it. I've read they ripen off the tree as well?