Top | putting up for winter
(recipe, Sarah Gilbert)
Quinces made their first appearance in my kitchen last year, but this year has proven that, with food, a deep love cannot be developed until one's second season with an ingredient. This year, my affection for quinces is abiding, overwhelming, all-encompassing. I'd already realized how fantastically rich in pectin are quinces, and made a half-cup of concentrated juice for future preserving when I read Deborah Madison's illuminating piece about quince syrup. I must have some!, I thought, and as I had a few bowls full of quinces and apples desperately near spoilage, I set to work on a quince applesauce inspired by the essay.
I have no pressure cooker, however, nor an evening that left room for close attention, and therefore did not yield the quart of juice she did; I poured off about 1/2 cup of (beautiful) pink juice. No matter. I had a few quarts of delicious, lovely pink sauce, perfect for inclusion in the food basket I had in mind for Christmas gifts for friends and family.
- 2 to 4 lb. whole quinces
- 2 to 3 lb. whole apples
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup maple syrup (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract, or, the seeds from ½ vanilla bean
- Wash the quinces and apples well, and cut into chunks. Leave in the cores and seeds, but cut out bruised portions, stems, and the blossom end of the fruits.
- Place in a large pot with a lid, along with the water. You'll know when you have enough fruit when your pot is so full you can barely get the lid to stay on.
- Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to moisten all the fruit; reduce heat to low.
- Leaving the lid a bit ajar, cook for a few hours, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is very soft and the liquid is nearly all absorbed.
- Remove from heat and scoop the fruit into a food mill.
- Puree, and then taste. Add maple syrup (or honey or sugar) until sauce is at desired sweetness. Add in vanilla.
- If your sauce has cooled down significantly, return to pot and bring to simmer again.
- Ladle into clean canning jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.
- Process at 180-200 degrees 10 minutes for ½ pints and 15 minutes for pints.