I made this with an unexpected crop of small japonica quinces growing against a sunny wall of my house. You could use normal quinces if you prefer, but you'll need to cut them into small chunks. The weight of fruit doesn't really matter. Just measure the juice after step 3, then add an equal amount of sugar.
I spiced up the jelly with pink peppercorns. Their slightly resinous flavour and mild heat go well with quinces, and the colour is a perfect match. Sichuan peppercorns might be good too.
pink peppercorns (optional)
1) Halve the japonica quinces lengthways and put in a large saucepan. (No need to remove the peel or cores.) Cover with water, bring to the boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes or until the fruit is soft. This will take longer if you are using ordinary quinces.
2) Dampen a jelly bag and suspend it over a large bowl, making sure the bottom of the bag is well clear of the bowl.
3) Tip the quinces and their liquid into the bag. Leave to drip, undisturbed, for about 8 hours. Don't squeeze the bag or your jelly will be cloudy.
4) Measure the liquid and pour it into a large saucepan. Add an equal amount of sugar e.g. if you have 800 millilitres of juice, add 800 grams of sugar. Add a good squirt of lemon juice and about 2 tablespoons of pink peppercorns per litre of juice.
5) Stir with a wooden spoon over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then boil rapidly until set – 105°C on a sugar thermometer, or until a teaspoonful wrinkles when dropped onto a chilled plate.
6) Skim off the froth with a large metal spoon. Pour into warm sterilized jars, then seal and cover. Store in a cool place.
Recipe © Christine McFadden, October 2022