A generous neighbour gave me an armful of quinces and I wondered what I could do with them all. Well, when I had tried every other recipe known to mankind using quinces, it was time to try Quince Chutney.
QUINCES KEEP AND KEEP
Quinces keep very well and I had no room in my fridge for them, so they just sat in a fruit bowl for at least a month with no visible signs of aging. They were as firm as the day I was given them, so I am very impressed with that!
MISSHAPEN – JUST THE WAY WE LIKE THEM
Quinces are rarely perfectly round or even in size. I was reading online about them, doing a little research and read that they are one of the least popular fruits and for this reason there has been no encouragement to go trying to regulate their shape or look. Good! I say. The wonkier the better. We love organic and I’m pretty sure these hairy fruit are absolutely that!
So far I have stewed them, made the ubiquitous Turkish dessert (Ayva Tatlısı) with them, created a pie, a crumble, a cobbler and even a Quince Tarte Tatin! And of course, I made one of my very favourite salads, Claudia’s stunning Celeriac and Quince with Orange and Lemon Juice.
So, having still more left over, it was time to get a little adventurous. I decided to try my hand at a chutney. Going way back to the early 90’s, I used to make between 400 to 600 jars of chutney a year. But always with a written recipe. Whatever was in season and was going out cheaply at the market would be my chutney base. More often than not, these chutneys were a success. Let’s face it, it’s hard to muck chutney up.
So, last week I decided Quince Chutney would be my target. I had never heard of anyone using them for this purpose, but why not? I’m sure many have, but on enquiring, no one I asked sounded over positive about it at all. Least of all my lovely Turkish neighbours who have never got past jam.
I started off by boiling my quinces the night before. As we enjoy spicy food, I actually added a few spicy pepper halves to the water. (Halved so they would be easily removed in the morning.)
The following day, I did something I do not normally do with chutney. I tasted the recipe all along the way. As I mentioned previously, I would usually just follow a chutney recipe from start to finish without too much wavering. However, as I did not find any quince chutney recipes that made my mouth water, I decided I would see what I could create. I was reasonably happy with it and we ate a generous portion with our meal that very night.
However, I did not open the jar again until today and was stunned how the flavours had mellowed and what a lovely chutney it had become with a week gone by since making it.
I am truly happy with this chutney and hope you will enjoy it too.
Tasting it along the way is the way to go, I believe. I know that while it is cooking, it is boiling hot and you do have to wait for it to cool on the spoon each time, but it is definitely worthwhile, to be able to get the flavours working exactly in your favour.
The whole process from start to finish on the second day after boiling the quinces the night before is very quick and they can be cooked and in the jar within the hour.
NOT THE NORMAL CHUTNEY SMELLS WITH THIS ONE – Phew!
Due to not using much vinegar and no onion at all, I found my kitchen was not it’s usual chutney-smelling self either. It is quite a gentle smell and not at all like back in the 90’s when my house was overrun with chutney odours and I would swear I had to give up the game
Enough said, I hope you enjoy this very easy chutney.
- 3 quince, peeled, cored, cubed into large pieces, seeds retained and placed in either a tea infuser or muslin bag
- 1 cup water
- ¼ tsp ginger
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp chilli flakes
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup brown sugar or sub with ½ cup sugar & 1 Tbsp molasses/treacle/pekmez
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate syrup
- The night before wanting to make the quince chutney, put the retained quince seeds (encased) in a large pan along with the cubed quince.
- Simmer the quince in the 1 cup water stated for 30 minutes. Keep the pan covered. No evaporation is desired at this point.
- The next morning remove the quince seeds, draining / squeezing them as much as possible so that all possible pectin remains with the soft quinces
- Add all the spices to the pan. Do not add the sugar, vinegar or pomegranate syrup yet
- Boil on high 5 minutes covered.
- Add sugar (and molasses/treacle/pekmez), continue to boil, removing lid
- Turn it down to a medium heat, keeping it uncovered.
- Allow the mixture to evaporate and thicken. Ultimately we want all the liquid to evaporate. Stir it every 4 or 5 minutes. It should be evaporated within 50 minutes, possibly sooner.
- At this point taste the chutney and add the vinegar and pomegranate syrup according to how much you think is necessary
- It should taste a little sour along with being sweet. Tweak it to your tastebuds. Keep stirring it until it is thick with very little liquid remaining.
- Pour into a clean glass jar. Seal and refrigerate once cool.
- Serve with curries, rice, cheese and bread, cold meat sandwiches etc.