Letter from ‘The Ferns’ Vegetarian B & B: chatting about making Quince Cheese instead of marmalade and snow January 2013

Our garden today

 Well here we are in midwinter in Newport, Shropshire, and there is nothing I can  do in the garden! However I can work on recipes for ‘The  Ferns’ Bed & Breakfast.

I picked from my quince bush  about 2.5 lb of quinces about 2 weeks ago. I say ‘picked’, well I just pick them up from the ground below the shrub. This plant does amazingly well on our north facing coach-house wall; it hardly gets any sunshine! The flowers are a brilliant deep red in early spring and I have the benefit of the quinces in wintertime.  My only recipe is for quince cheese – a type of jam. I wonder if anyone else uses quinces for other recipes ?  Cakes, puddings maybe. Please email me at thefernsshropshire@hotmail.co.uk and I will  publicise your recipe and try it next year – I have no more quinces left.

My quince cheese is an un-sweet type of jam – like a gooseberry jam. It has the sweetness and sharpness of  and so I always have some home-made ‘quince cheese’ for my B & B guests. And, naturally, anything from my garden is organic!

The recipe is my sister’s      – PAM’S QUINCE CHEESE
3 lb quince, washed, roughly peeled, chopped   and 1/4 pint water
sugar –  1 lb to every pint of pulp.

1. Cook as much fruit as you have  with water (in proportion- see above) very slowly in a closed pan till tender, but stir regularly.

Preparing the quince

Preparing the quince

2. Sieve and then measure the pulp.

sieving the pulp
Sieving the pulp

3. Return to clean pan and add 1 lb sugar to each pint of pulp.
4. Initially, heat very slowly, so that the sugar and pulp melt together.
5. Now bring to the boil, but keep stirring regularly because the jam can quite easily get burnt
6. Cook until a spoon drawn across the bottom of the pan leaves a clean line.
7. Put in jam jars and cover as you would normally do jam.

You will find that as the jam gets older, the darker colour it becomes. My ‘cheese’ from last year is now almost a brown colour and has become quite solid. Still tastes equally as good!

If you prefer a jam which isn’t too sweet and you have a quince shrub, try this recipe out!

The finished jam. Yummy!

The finished jam. Yummy!

That is all for now from Newport (Salop)! Have a very happy 2013!