QUINCE JELLY / GELEE DE COINGS
5 large (10 oz or 300 g each) quinces
8-1/2 cups (3-1/4 pounds or 1-3/4 kg) sugar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, if needed
1. Sterilize six 8-oz (250-ml) canning jars and lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Rub each quince briskly with a cotton towel to remove the outside fuzz. Cut the quinces in half horizontally and use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and the hard white case that surrounds them. Tie the seeds and cases in a double thickness of cheesecloth.
3. Place the fruit-and-seed bundle in a large heavy stockpot. Add water to cover by about 1 inch (2.5 cm), so the quinces are floating slightly but not swimming. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat so the liquid is simmering merrily.
4. Cook, partially covered so very little liquid evaporates, until quince can be pierced easily with a metal skewer—from 25 to 40 min, depending on the fruit. While quinces are cooking, press on the seed bundle often to extract pectin. Drain, reserving the liquid and seed bundle.
5. Measure 6-1/4 cups (about 3 liters) of the liquid and return it to the stockpot along with the seed bundle. Add sugar, stir, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat so liquid boils steadily but not wildly, and cook, stirring and pressing on the seed bag, until the liquid thickens, anywhere from 10 to 25 min. (To test for consistency, drizzle some of the liquid on a plate and refrigerate it for a minute, then check to see if it has thickened enough.) If the liquid hasn’t jelled after 30 minutes, stir in lemon juice and cook 5 to 10 min longer.
6. Remove jelly from heat and strain, if necessary, so it is perfectly clear. Ladle it into the sterilized jars, leaving ¼ inch at the top. Seal jars according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Yield: About six 8-oz (125-ml) jars.
Originally published in the November 2012 issue of France Today