Making Quince Jelly

By Leslie Parks - Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There is this fruit called a quince.  At one time it was very popular but fell out of favor when tropical fruit was discovered.  It has been imported into the United States but doesn't fair very well and isn't widely available.  However in France, at least where my grandparents live, there are quince trees in many yards if not most.  They ripen in the fall and turn from green to yellow.  After they are picked, they need to have the "fuzz" rubbed off  and then cut into pieces.  They are placed in a steamer juicer for about an hour.  The juice is then used to make jelly and the pulp can be thrown away.  The fruit juice is then measured and placed in a pot with equal amount of sugar.  1 kilogram of sugar for every liter of juice.  Stir the juice and sugar and heat until it boils.  Stirring often, making sure not to boil over.  Skim off the white foam and continue with a low boil for about 15 minutes.  Place in clean warm jars and place the lids on.  That's it.  They can then be stored in a cool dry place.  No need for the water bath canner.  My grandparents harvested quince while I was visiting.  I loved it.  My grandfather has this tool that he used to pick the fruit.  It was a long bamboo pole that had a leather "mitt" that opened and closed at one end and the other had a lever to open and close the mitt.  This way, my grandfather could grab the fruit and use the pole to twist and pull the fruit off the stem.  Apparently it was his father's before him.  I love connections like this.  We picked two baskets and make about 15 jars of quince jelly. More than just jelly came out of this endeavor.  First of all, I learned new French words, like rotten and boil.  Second there always seems to be a connection between people when food is involved and this was no exception.  You spend a couple of hours together picking, cutting, boiling and finally filling and there is something more to the food.  I learned and my grandmother taught and there is a passing on of information but of ourselves as well.  I think that is one thing we have lost is the connection between generations because we are too busy to cook or bake together. 

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