As its name suggests, quince jelly is a type of preserve made from quinces, a pear-like fruit native to the Middle East. The jelly is pale pink in color and tart yet sweet in taste, and is often eaten on toast or used in fruit tarts. Quince jelly is fairly easy to produce because quinces naturally contain a significant amount of pectin, and because they do not need to be peeled or cored prior to jelly making. Once prepared, the jelly is usually sealed in sterile jars and allowed to age.
Although the flesh of the quince is white or pale yellow in color, prolonged exposure to heat causes it to turn reddish-pink. Consequently, quince jelly typically has a pale pink hue. As fresh quinces are quite sour in taste, when preparing this jelly, quince juice and sugar are used in almost equal proportions. The combination of these ingredients results in a preserve that is both sweet and tart. It is commonly used as a topping for toast, and is sometimes also used to add flavor to fruit tarts and pies.
Quince jelly is among the easiest types of jelly to prepare. This is partly because the quince naturally contains a large amount of pectin, the carbohydrate responsible for the thick texture of jelly. Therefore, it generally is not necessary to add pectin when making quince jelly. In fact, the only ingredients needed when preparing this type of jelly are quince juice, lemon juice, and sugar. Some cooks opt to add a further layer of flavor to the jelly using ingredients like cinnamon or currants, but such additives are optional.
Another reason that quince jelly is easy to make is that the fruits do not need to be peeled, cored, or de-seeded prior to use. They are simply roughly chopped and boiled in water until they soften. The resulting fruit is then drained and refrigerated overnight, and finally boiled with sugar and lemon juice until the mixture becomes thick.
Those who wish to preserve their quince jelly for a significant period of time should seal it in sterilized jars before it has begun to cool. Some cooks hold that the jelly should not be eaten for several weeks or even months after it has been canned. According to these individuals, the jelly’s flavor develops and deepens when it is allowed to age.