So, I finished the quince jelly, which turned into lightly quince flavored vanilla syrup…

I ran out of sugar, and my mom had a pretty jar of vanilla sugar. So… I decided to use the vanilla sugar for the quince and I ended up not cooking the mixture long enough (I think) and the result was that the jelly didn’t gel as much as it is supposed to.

When I had my mom sample it she was trying really hard to tell me that it tasted like quince, but since she wasn’t particularly familiar with quince, she had a hard time detecting it. So now I have three jars of quince vanilla syrup that I am planning to use to sweeten poached pears in the winter… the jars look pretty anyway, the vanilla seeds are suspended in the mixture.


Vanilla Sugar

My mom had some really fresh organic vanilla beans from a family farm in Costa Rica. She puts several beans in for 3 or 4 cups (or more) of sugar. You can leave the bean whole, or scrape out the seeds, which mix nicely with the sugar.

This sugar works really well for lots of things! To flavor hot milk, jams, pies, spiced fruits, etc!!


September 14, 2009

I am kind of obsessed with canning things. I get giddy when I find a new source for fruits or vegetables. Excited and can’t stop talking about it. Yesterday was a grape day. Today is a quince day.


Quinces are hard to find around here. Their skins and cores are full of pectin (a substance that helps “gel” jams and jellies), and make a lovely jelly. The fruit is wonderful when made into paste, jam, and sauce. My friend Jeanne from Oskaloosa has a quince tree and she is going to let me stop by and pick a bucket of quinces.

Later… Jeanne and I went out and collected some quinces. They are a smaller variety, which I think are called flowering quince. I have a recipe for flowering quince jelly which i have started.


The quinces are washed (to remove the fur on the skin) and then quartered. Their seeds are tightly clustered in the center of the fruit and are surrounded by a gel like substance (pectin?). The fruit is very hard and needs to be cooked before eating.

quince in cheesecloth

My jelly recipe uses about 3 lbs quince. I simmered the quince in my cauldron for about 1 hr until soft. They smell lovely when cooking-sweet, almost like honey. When the fruit was soft, I put them in a piece of linen cheesecloth and tied it to my cabinet. The pectin rich juice is draining into a bowl on my counter for the next 12 hrs or so..


Once all the juice is collected, it will be added to lots and lots of sugar and transformed into jelly for the fall and winter!

September 10, 2009

Tomatoes, squash, etc

Tomatoes, squash, etc