RECIPE: Japanese Quince Jelly

Many people don’t realise how many edible plants are hiding in their gardens – Japanese Quince (Chaenomeles japonica) being one! Often picked out at gardens centres & planted for their stunning Spring blooms, Japanese Quince produces small green/yellow apple-like fruit in Autumn which can be picked & used to make a delicious fragrant jelly. Here’s our tried & tested recipe for Japanese Quince Jelly..

Not sure if you’re picking the right thing or want to grow Japanese Quince!? Here’s a brief overview of Japanese Quince by the Gardeners World team. The fruit are best harvested after a few frosts when they soften a little & turn from green to yellow – as in the photo above. Don’t try eating them without processing, they’re very sour & incredibly tough! Japanese Quince naturally contain lots of pectin so you don’t need to use jam sugar or add extra pectin.

What you’ll need..

  • 2 kg Japanese Quince
  • 2 litres water
  • Equal amounts sugar to filtered quince liquid
  • Star Anise (3 pieces) /Cinnamon (2 sticks) / Ginger (Thumb-sized piece sliced) /Cloves (10 pieces)

What to do..

  1. Wash & roughly chop the fruit, seeds & all!
  2. Add to a large saucepan with the water & cook with lid on until the fruit soft.
  3. Pour the stewed fruit & liquid mix into a jelly bag over a large mixing bowl & leave overnight to filter. Save the leftover fruit pulp to feed to poultry or add to your compost heap.
  4. Measure the liquid, then add to a saucepan with an equal quantity of organic sugar (For 1 litre of liquid, you’d be adding 1 kg of sugar) & your preferred spice listed.
  5. Simmer on a med-high heat, stir periodically to ensure not burning. Meanwhile put a plate in the freezer & prep your jams jars (soak in warm water to remove labels & then pour freshly boiled water over the jars, lids, jam funnel & ladle to sterilise for a few sections & then turn over to dry).
  6. Test mixture after 20-30mins by dripping a blob onto your plate retrieved from the freezer. Allow to cool for a few seconds & then push with your thumb, if the surface wrinkles, your jelly’s ready for jarring!
  7. Work quickly, ladling the hot mix into your jars, filling right to the top (you want as little air in the jar as possible) then screw on the lid firmly & turn lid side down to sterilise the inside of the lid one last time! I wear thick rubber gloves while jarring to prevent any scalding. Once all jars filled, turn them lid-side up again & rinse briefly under a tap to remove any sticky jelly drips from the outside.
  8. Once cooled after a few hours, decorate, label & enjoy!

Serving Ideas

  • TOAST. Chunky bread fresh out of the toaster, spread with butter, jelly & a cuppa – mmh!
  • CURRIES. We enjoy this jelly as a mango chutney substitute, spread on flatbreads with spicy curries.
  • CREPES. Spread on drop scones, pancakes or French-style crepes with fresh fruit & whipped cream or icecream – yummy!

We hope you enjoy making your own Japanese Quince Jelly! Did you know you can also use this fruit to make an amazing lemon juice alternative!? Click here for our guide on how to harvest, extract & preserve the juice.

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