Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paradise Jelly

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.

Clockwise from top right: crabapple, lingonberry, quince.

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.

Paradise Jelly
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!)


  1. Oh Julia, this is just plain gorgeous! I would just want to ogle it all day! But hot bread & butter would pull me away. Nice, nice, nice!

  2. I came across a recipe for paradise jelly the other day and love the name. Who wouldn't want a jelly that takes you there. Looks fab. Also thanks for the info re only processing jelly for 5 mins. I didn't know that and now do.

  3. Wow - truly gorgeous. If ever a jelly could knock your socks off - this is it.

  4. Meg - Thank you for your jelly admiration!

    Gloria - Isn't a great name? RE: five minutes for jelly, yeah, I'm not sure if it's approved by the powers that be, but as recently as a few years ago it was standard practice.

    Kaela - Thanks! And that's coming from a someone who is not pro-jelly. That's big.

  5. Hey Julia, it was so nice to hear from you at Yummy Supper! So sorry to have been out of touch for a while.. on the road/little internet. It was great to check in and see what you are up to:)
    The color of your paradise jelly made me smile. Fantastic!
    I used to have a beautiful quince bush in front of my house. Now, I am kicking myself for not taking advantage.

  6. Now I have Guns n' Roses in my head.

    The other day Milo said "When is she coming over again? We're out of her jelly."

  7. Yummy Supper - E, your travels are so inspiring! Thanks so much for coming by and visiting the jelly!

    Peter - Ha! That's totally flattering. One of these jars has his name on it!

  8. Beautiful! The rich colour of this jelly makes my mouth water...I can only imagine how good it tastes. Thanks for the recipe and tips.

  9. Turnbulls - Hey, thanks! And gosh, your soups are looking good. Great work with the pressure canner!!

  10. Oh, pretty please post this to Punk Domestics? It's glorious.

  11. Sean - You are so nice to ask that! What's wrong with me for not doing that sooner? I will, I promise! Thank you!

  12. Wow. That is some amazing looking jelly you have there. I'll be making some apple jelly for a few years before I attempt this one.

  13. Cindy - I made apple jelly for a year before taking this one on, so we'll see yours next December? Thanks for the comment!

  14. If you were subbing for the crabapple, would you just use a nice tart apple? I have a bunch of idareds right now (which have a beautiful color to boot).

  15. Greenishmonkeys - I think that would be just fine! Love Ida reds for jelly, btw!

  16. I just found your blog when searching for Paradise Jelly...my grandmother used to make it every year and I've always loved it.

    Haven't been able to find quinces near me in Asheville, NC (with all our apple orchards around, you'd think some of them would have a quince tree or two in and amongst them!). BUT, I was visiting my dad in upstate New York and saw some in the grocery store and snatched them up.

    The apples, quinces and cranberries are stewing/straining as I type this. Thanks so much for posting this!

    1. Kristen, that's fabulous! Thank you so much for telling me about your story. I love it! Where in upstate NY were you? Glad to know quinces are out there, somewhere! Apparently, it was a pervasive disease--fire blight, I think it was called--that wiped out all the quince trees. We need to plant more!

      Enjoy your jelly!

    2. It was up in Rochester, NY at Wegmans Flagship store. And I'm pleased to report that my local grocery store had some last week...I was in heaven, and I'm about to make another batch today. Christmas is coming, after all!