Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

Quince jelly | Geleia de Marmelos

The stuff of addiction …

It’s that time of year again! Last year we took a bag of quinces from the quinta back to Scotland and made jelly from them there. It was barely a month before the lot had disappeared. A bit unusual for a household where half-eaten jams and jellies have a habit of languishing neglected in the back of the cupboard until they grow fluffy green legs and walk out of their own accord.

I’m writing this post with the sublime perfume of quinces filling the yurt as another batch of quince jelly gets underway.

I’ve been making the jelly in small batches as time and other projects allow, but discovered this jelly is best made in small amounts as large amounts take much more boiling to reach setting point and the jelly’s flavour can spoil in the process.

The recipe couldn’t be simpler.

Quarter unpeeled washed fruit, remove cores and chop fruit into smaller pieces. Save cores undamaged by worms and place in a muslin bag.

Preparing quinces for jelly

Preparing the quinces

Fill large stainless steel pan with chopped fruit, add water to cover fruit by 2-3cm, and put muslin bag containing cores in with the fruit (quinces are rich in pectin and a high proportion of it is contained in the cores and seeds). Bring to the boil and boil an hour or so until fruit is soft.

Cooking quinces

Quince pieces boiling. Cores in muslin bag

Mash or otherwise break up softened fruit, discard cores, then strain fruit pulp through muslin into clean bowl or pan. Allow pulp to drain for 3-4 hours (I’ve left it overnight before without any detriment to the final result). It can then be used for making Doce de Marmelos or fruit leather if desired.

Strained quince cooking water before adding sugar

Strained quince cooking water before adding sugar

Measure amount of liquid. Add just less than the same volume of sugar, around 85-90%. (I use unrefined organic sugar if I can get my hands on it, otherwise amarelo areada. You could also put a piece of cinnamon and/or some lemon zest in a muslin bag in with the quince juice, but the flavour of quinces on their own is so good I haven’t been tempted to try this yet.) Place over heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Boil until setting point is reached. *

Pour into sterlised jars and seal.

(* If the setting point seems elusive and the amount of sugar you’ve added was towards the low end of the range, add a bit more.)

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  1. mike September 25, 2010

    why separate the cores? couldnt they be included and mashed up? i always eat apples down to the quick.

  2. Quinta do Vale September 25, 2010

    Separating the cores means you can use the drained pulp for Doce de Marmelos, or fruit leather, which I’m just about to try. You couldn’t if the seeds, etc, were mixed up in the pulp. (Unless you like eating apple/quince/pear seeds, that is. Personally I’m not too keen.)

  3. Kernewes September 26, 2010

    I agree that quince jelly is a great preserve to make as it is. However, last year I experimented with adding rosemary (both while cooking the fruit and putting dried rosemary in the finished jelly). It was very popular and is a great accompaniment to both sweet and savoury meals.

  4. Quinta do Vale October 1, 2010

    Thanks for that suggestion. We’ve just made another couple of batches trying both the cinnamon and lemon flavouring and the rosemary (I used fresh rosemary). Verdict? Both are delicious, but somehow the quince on it’s own is still the favourite.

  5. Paula August 15, 2015

    Thank you for your blog. The Geleia brought me great memories. I’m a Portuguese from Coimbra who left 40 years ago for Australia and miss my country terribly.
    From memory one also eats Geleia sprinkled with Canela (cinnamon). The other sweet that’s absolutely divine is the ‘Doce de Abóbora’, accompanied by Requeijão, made from sheep’s milk and very healthy. Last time I was there it was a very common desert in restaurants in the coastal centre of Portugal.

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