Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quince & Apple Canning

I've been a bit behind on reporting on activities here on the blog. At the end of last month we harvested quince from the bush and made quince jelly. Someone commented elsewhere asking how big the bush it. I would say it's about 5 feet in diameter. There is a picture of the whole bush at the end of this post from last year.

We picked 8 lbs of quince on the 21st and made it into juice in two ways. For every 3 1/2 lbs we added 7 cups of water. We had to fill two large stock pots with the quartered fruits and water. One pot full was strained through jelly bags overnight in the traditional way, yielding 8 cups.We put the other batch through the food mill to remove the seeds and skins but preserve more of the pulp. We got 9 cups from this batch.

For every cup of juice, we added one cup of sugar and then cooked each batch for about an hour with 2-4 tbsp of lemon juice added. The strained juice batch yielded 9 half-pint jars.
The milled juice yielded 10 half pint jars. Both batches had a little more left on the side which we put in the fridge for a taste test. The milled jelly is not quite as refined of a flavor as the strained juice. As far as color goes, it is similar but is not quite as clear, and has a hint more of orange. It has been so rainy lately we haven't gotten a good side-by-side of the two jars. Below is a jar of the strained jelly that wouldn't fit in the canner so went straight to the fridge.
We're very pleased with how much quince jelly we made this year since we thought it was the best we made last year, but had to use and share it sparingly. This year there is plenty to go around.

Our other canning endeavor was apple-quince butter. We went apple picking the last weekend in September and had a coupon for some money off a half-bushel of pick your own. So we picked a half-bushel. We were careful to first pick two varieties of cooking apples and then two varieties of eating apples so we would be able to separate them when we got home. My husband wanted to make apple butter, and we decided to throw some quinces in too.
We used 2 lbs 10 oz of quince and 3 lbs of apples (a mix of Cortland & Mac). We quartered them and added 7 cups water. We brought it to a boil and cooked until soft. Then we put the pulp through a food mill. Here's my husband using it.
We decided to cook it in the crock pot. We had 14 cups of pulp and added 4 cups of white sugar and 1 1/2 cusp of brown sugar. We started it on high with the lid ajar for a few hours and then turned it on low when we went to bed. The next morning it still needed more time so we left it on while we went to church. We forgot and came back later in the afternoon to it being done, but some of it starting to crisp around the edges of the crock pot. It had reduced by half and darkened significantly in color. We processed it in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes and yielded 8 half-pint jars. I still need to photograph it to show how dark it got.


miss m (InfG) said...

Oh, yum-yum. Your jelly looks so good ! And plenty to go 'round. Great.

I saw the bush the other day while searching back posts. I was expecting something bigger, like an apple tree. I'm looking to incorporate more fruit & berries in the garden. I really like the size of that (small and bushy), but was wondering if it gets much bigger. How old is it, do you know ?

Emily said...

Miss M,

It's an ornamental quince which is different from the true quince which I think would be more like an apple tree.

I'm not sure how old it is since we are renters. I'm sure it could be pruned back as needed.

henbogle said...

Oh, that food mill looks so familiar! I have the same one....

The jelly looks fabulous. Me thinks I need to plant a quince!

Matron said...

I'm just about to make some quince butter, or quince cheese depending on how long I have the patience to leave it on the stove! Will hopefully not forget to take some pictures to blog soon!