Saturday, 10 December 2011

Medlar Jelly

Just been making medlar jelly, having cooked, strained and filtered all my fruit in several batches. The fruit was well bletted, so I doubt that there was enough pectin left in the fruit to make a good set, so resorted to using a little pectin just to make sure. If making a butter (just pushed through a sieve, rather than a jelly bag, probably no need to add any pectin, as the thickness of the fruit pulp gives enough body to the paste

Medlars (as many as you have as they don't make a great quantity of jelly)
Stick of cinnamon (if liked)
small orange
2 lemons

Add boiling water to medlars, just enough to cover them. Add a small orange, cut into halves or quarters and a stick of cinnamon. Bring to boil, then turn down the heat and cook for another 40 minutes.
Strain the pulp through a coarse sieve into another pan. You can boil up the remaining coarse pulp again if required, especially if you don't have a great quantity of fruit. Take the strained pulp and strain again using a jelly bag, leaving it overnight.

Measure the filtered liquor and add 700g sugar per litre. Squeeze the two lemons, and strain the juice through a tea strainer. Add pectin and bring to a boil (we used one sachet to 2 litres of liquour). When you think it has reduced enough, test it by cooling a drop of jelly on a saucer. When the cooled jelly starts to develop a skin, it is nearly ready, but leave a little bit longer to achieve a good set. (Alternatively, use a jam thermometer to the setting indicated on the scale if not familiar with jam making).

At the same time sterilise jars and lids in the oven until hot. Ladle jelly into jars, taking care to avoid any scum that inevitably forms during boiling. Fill as near the top of the jar as you can, and screw lids on tightly while jelly is still hot.

The flavour is rather like quince, but more robust, with just a hint of tannin, enough to make it dual-purpose as a desert or meat accompaniment. We've found it quite hard to get completely clear jelly, even with a jelly bag some particles seem to get through.

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