Archive for the ‘preserves’ Category

A friend gave me some medlars to have a go at making jelly from this very old fashioned fruit. Picked when still hard and green, you leave them in a cool place until they have bletted. That means they ripen until they are soft, brown and a bit squishy. When you bite into a green medlar they are incredibly astringent and inedible, once bletted they lose that astringency but still don’t taste great, a cross between earthy leaf mold and rotten pear. On line there are heaps of recipes, I followed the basic jelly recipe of:

  • In a large pot put fruit, a roughly chopped lemon and apple (for extra pectin) and barely cover with water.
  • Bring slowly to the boil then simmer until the fruit is very mushy and water has lots of flavour (mine took about half an hour.)
  • Strain fruit through a cloth bag, don’t squeeze (but I always do) and save the juice.
  • Measure juice into a pot by the cup full. Bring to the boil then add the same number cups of sugar.
  • Boil until it’s ready to set, then pour into sterilised jars.

The resulting medlar jelly is a dark pink, a bit tart and has an amazing flavour. It set really well so I think medlars must have lots of pectin by themselves. It’s a bit like a strong quince jelly but more tasty.

medlars, gloaming after storm 005medlar jelly 001

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‘Fragrant’ Medlar Jelly


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A friend told me about these crab apples she’d had in the States that were good with ham and other meats. After making some up, I agree that they are not only tasty but look pretty with their stalks still on and their shape retained. Here is a tasty version made with what I had in the cupboard.

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  • 1.5 kg crab apples: pare out the bottom blossom area, push a skewer through the length of the core so the flavour can penetrate, then prick the skin so when it splits it doesn’t peel off.
  • 4.5 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 4.5 cups white vinegar
  • In a twist of cotton fabric tie in 1 teaspoon each of: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom (optional).

Bring everything but the crab apples to the boil then add enough crab apples to fill two jars at a time. Simmer until crab apples are soft, about 7 mins. Have your clean jars sterilising (I put 2 cm of water in my 2 jars and microwave them for 5 mins) and have lids boiling in a pot.

When the crab apples are ready, I bottle using the overflow method. Use whatever method you feel most comfortable with. Overflow can be hit and miss if you plan on keeping them for years but I like this method for it’s simplicity and preserves don’t hang around our place long enough to spoil! They already taste good but I’m sure they will improve with a bit of time. Enjoy!

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