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Detours off Britta Blvd

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Carne de Membrillo = Quince Preserves a la Brittahytta
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My mom remembered my grandmother has always liked quince jelly, so I looked up a recipe online, finding one for clear, strained quince juice jelly that was a beautiful ruby color. I was a bit worried about having so little fruit how much juice could I really get, so I wanted to make preserves instead. I saw a link from the jelly page to this page...little did I know that quince preserves "carne de membrillo" is a traditional pairing with manchego, one of my favorite cheeses! Well you know what recipe I had to use...haha!


Brittahytta Quince Harvest 2006 (one not shown was sliced for tasting & chopped for freezing)




The process is very simple. Joaquín Lacalle, in his book Andulusian Cookery, includes a very straightforward description of the method for carne de membrillo.

“Boil a few good yellow quinces and when they are tender, drain, peel and put in an electric blender. Add equal quantities of the quince and sugar and boil for 25 minutes, stirring with a spatula so that it does not stick. When this thickens, cool in moulds (preferably made of glass). In some areas this is flavored with cinnamon” (233).


Notice no pectin is necessary since quince are even higher in natural pectin than apples, hence their inclusion in the original marmalade, whose name comes from membrillo (keep reading the Gilded Fork page I linked above!). Since my quince were very knobbly and had large cores, by the time I'd cut out the weird parts, I was pretty much left with 1" cubes, so I chopped up the rest to match guessing it would cook more evenly that way. I ended up with about 3.5 lbs of chopped quince that went into my largest pot with just enough water to cover the quince, brought it to a boil, and by then the quince were already tender enough to chop to a paste in my food processor, even the skins. That gave about 7 cups of quince mash, so I drained my pot as instructed (argh - I should have saved that quince "juice" for something!), put the mash back in with equal parts sugar, so 7 cups. I brought it to a boil, then cooked it on low still boiling for the recommended 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be CAREFUL, since that syrup is sticky and will BURN you, glue on your skin & KEEP BURNING! Mine was splooping so high up it caught me on the arm and even once on my cheek! I kept using my pot lid as a shield, trying to stir by reaching under the lid only...a bit challenging!

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Carne de Membrillo = Quince Preserves a la Brittahytta

3.5 lbs of quince, chopped, skins on (all 7.5 quince off my tree, one was sliced to eat then chopped & frozen, but 7 were cut fresh)
large pot, water just to cover chopped quince, bring to boil
by time it reaches a good rolling boil, quince is just tender enough to mash, even skins
drain, put into food processor & pulse to mash into a paste
3.5 lbs yielded 7 cups quince mash
7 cups mash => 7 cups granulated sugar
bring to boil, then boil 25 minutes, stirring constantly
no extra pectin necessary
ladle into canning jars & seal, or into glass molds

yield: 6 half-pint jars, two large martini glasses, 7 mini-martini glasses, 3 bell liqueur glasses, one tiny dish
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A fine example of a quince



Quince cut to show cross-section




Completed Quince Preserves in jars, and Carne de Membrillo in various shaped molds, almost ready for manchego...yum! :-9


My quince preserves seem to have gelled properly, since my molded ones are pretty solid, but I'm not risking removing them from the molds yet. From what I licked off my arm after it was done burning me (!) it was pretty tasty! It looks kind of like applesauce for color & texture, but doesn't quite taste like applesauce, since it's a bit more tart & has a slightly unique flavor. I can't wait until it's cool enough to try with the manchego I have in my fridge! :-9