This month's Tigress' Can Jam is the second to last month of the year-long jam! Cosmic Cowgirl (also of Confituras fame) gave us the pick of pomes, that is, apples, pears and quinces. Phew! What would the jam be without those guys? And, being both a quince and jelly fanatic, I decided to do a quince jelly. But not just any quince jelly. This is Paradise Jelly, my friends. I've been eyeballing this recipe that I've adapted from the Joy of Cooking for a while now.
It's an old school recipe that combines apples, quinces and cranberries. I used crabapples, quinces and lingonberries, otherwise known as low-bush cranberries—a wild Alaskan gift from the ever-generous Shae of Hitchhiking to Heaven. It's the most beautiful jelly I've ever made, as all three fruit add to the rosy hue, and the name is certainly fitting.
The married juices with some crabapples in the background.
adapted from The Joy of Cooking
makes 4 to 5 half-pint jars
The basic method is to extract the juice from all the fruits separately, because they have such different cooking times.
3 pounds of crabapples
3 cups of water
Cut the crabapples in half, removing the blossom end and stems. Combine with water and bring to a boil, simmering gently for about thirty minutes. Strain. Reserve juice.*
1 1/2 pounds quinces
3 1/2 cups water
Cut the quinces coarsely in chunks. Add water and bring to a boil, simmer for about thirty minutes. The longer you cook them the more pink they will get. Don't use a high heat. Strain. Reserve juice.*
8 ounces of lingonberries (or cranberries)
3/4 cup of water
Bring to a boil, strain and reserve juice.**
*My next post will be about incorporating the pulp of these fruits into a great preserve. Food mill them and stash them in the fridge.
** See this post on what to do with this fruit pulp.
Combine all the juices. You will have about five cups of liquid. Measure four cups of juice, and add three cups of sugar. I froze the last cup for addition into a jam or jelly. It is high in pectin—all three fruits are pectin rich—and will serve well as a pectin stock.
Now proceed as with any jelly. Bring to a boil, and continue at high heat until the jelling point is reached. This is 22o degrees using a candy thermometer. You want to be familiar with the jelling stages though, as the temperature is never a sure indicator of a gel. Jelly is temperamental, but not entirely mysterious. Trying an apple jelly first to see what will happen is always a good starting point. It won't set you back financially, or emotionally!
You should have your jars boiling away in the water bath. Jelly making is an instance where you want the jars sterilized (boiled for at least ten minutes) so you can process them for only five minutes. If you process your jelly for ten minutes, you may lose the set you worked so hard for by cooking it away. That's why processing times are shorter for jelly.
Is there anything better than warm, fresh bread with butter and jelly?
In my opinion, it was so worth the extra work! This would be a gorgeous glaze for turkey or duck, I think. And as a tart glaze, of course, like so many jellies. But we like it straight up on some homemade bread with butter, just fine, thank you very much! (Though I think some little toddlers around here would be fine eating it right off the spoon!)