Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Quince & Apple Jam

Hi to my new followers Tracey, Michelle and Becca.  It's been a  busy day here today, I've been making some jam while doing other things in the kitchen along the way. But the 'other things' will be another post.

The fruit Quince takes me back to my childhood...I'm not sure why, and I don't recall my mother making Quince Jelly or Jam....or anything else from the fruit...I do remember them being untouchable....as in inedible off the tree....There are other fruit trees that take me back...like the Common Lemon with the bumpy skin, the Pomegranate (which is becoming popular again), and the Cactus Fruit....and Figs, Oh how I loved figs......
As a child I found myself drawn to the fruits that were inedible, I was amazed how they could be transformed into something delicious by cooking them.

I think more knowledge of these old fruits are disappearing.....something tells me that my mother used to cook them, but we were never offered the sweet preserves of the Quince....so I am not sure if they were cooked at home or not, but why would I be drawn to them otherwise....

Anyway, I have always been on the lookout for this untouchable fruit; the Quince....In the back of my mind, I just figured that they were not sold in shops and that being popular in my Nans generation...they had long gone.....

That was until I visited the new Fruit and Vegetable store in Kenny Street, in Wollongong the other day.....Low and  behold, there they were, on display as if they were like any other fruit...but golden, and furry....not the prettiest looking fruit either...but that was them, that was the fruit I remembered from my childhood.

I just had to bring some home with me and see what all the fuss was about....After all, I don't remember ever tasting the fruit, with mum always telling me that they had to be cooked before you could eat them....
so here goes....today is the day!

Oh, I was up at the lovely Kitchen supplies shop, which I have been visiting on the weekends, and mentioned to the lady working there, that I love preserving and making jams...she gave me this book, and told me she is supposed to offer them to customers who buy the preserving jars....but because I am in there so often, she gave me one anyway....I didn't even buy the preserving jars, they are far too expensive...
Here is a picture of the front cover of my free book.....

Quince conserve, I used this recipe as a guide.

2lb quinces
200 mls lemon juice
1.5kg sugar
1 can of Pie Apple...(It was decided that as it wasn't thickening well, I would change the recipe from Quince Jam to Quince & Apple Jam)

Cut each quince into quarters then peel, core and cut into small cubes....Now the Quince does not like giving up its core...with the flesh being ever so hard around the core...so here is some advice on how to cut them up....This is the easiest way I found anyway......

Halve, then quarter 1 Quince at a time, the fruit starts to oxidise as soon as it is cut,  after cutting up, sprinkle some lemon juice over them, after adding more diced fruit, keep tossing in the lemon juice you have already added.

Once peeled, halve again (eighths), then place each segment on its side and using the bench as leverage, cut the core from the fruit and discard the core. Then dice the remaining fruit segments. Continue until all the fruit is cut up and cored.

Place fruit in large pan with 2 litres of water and Lemon Juice...bring to boil,
then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

After the hour, the fruit should be soft,
I mashed it by pushing a whisk onto the wooden spoon, crushing the fruit.

 Here is a new product out at Aldi's ...and I bought one to see what it is like, I always like to have a can of Pie Apple in the store cupboard, it is a cheap, quick way of thickening up a preserve if needed.

I must say, I am impressed with this brand, Well done Aldi....Unlike the can you can get through the large supermarket chains, this one is cut into the finest of diced fruit....Very appealing for the finished product of a jam, or even a chutney.....I have only ever seen Pie Apple sliced...and its a very rough slice too.....This was cooked just right too....
Aldi's Pie Apple ....a lovely small diced fruit.
 After adding the Pie Apple, and bringing it back to the boil, I boiled the fruit for a further 1 hour or maybe a bit longer.....I also put the stick blender to it, to smooth it out slightly....By this time, you can start checking for a set....Place a small dollop on a cold plate, into the freezer...after a few minutes in the freezer, if it has reached setting point and is ready; when pushing through the dollop with your finger....it should wrinkle and leave a slight skin.
If it does, it is time to bottle it up, in hot, sterilised jars.

 From 6 Quince and 1 can of Pie Apple...I filled 11 recycled jars....and the jam is lovely....I now know what all the fuss is about.....those older generations, they knew a good thing, when they seen one....I reckon, they kept it to themselves because they didn't want to share any of it.....It's that good....Go and make some, You'll see what I am talking about....Oh I wish I knew someone local with a Quince tree.

After labelling and allowing the jars to cool....I have put them in my preserve shelves.....this is where I keep all my preserves....each time family comes to visit, they get to choose and take home whatever they like....The same people used to go to Nan's preserves cupboard....Now she has passed, they come to me....I love keeping the tradition and the skills alive........

I really should get to labelling the rest of those preserves before I forget what they are.....These are all made within the last 8 months....Can you see that I cut more shelves to allow for more space. I love DIY and Power-tools..lol
Top shelf #1: Plum & Raspberry Jam, Passion-fruit Jam
shelf #2: Place-mats, Fig & Ginger Jam
shelf #3: Comfrey Cream, Comfrey infused Oil, Quince & Apple Jam, Cooked Salsa Spread
shelf #4: Green Tomato Pickles, Bread N Butter Cucumber Pickles, Fig & Ginger Jam, Melon Relish, Cooked Salsa Spread
shelf #5: Plum Sauce, Green Tomato Pickles, Melon Relish, Fig & Ginger Jam, Tomato Sauce
shelf #6: Melon Pickles, Vanilla Port, Black Cherry Jam, Green Tomato Pickles
shelf #7: Tomato Chutney, Mushroom Ketchup
shelf #8: Plum Jam, Choc Bits, Preserved Lemon, Dehydrated Bananas, Brown Vinegar, Dehydrated Turnip slivers, Dehydrated Parsnips and behind them is Dehydrated Corn Kernels.

Shelf #9 is missing, but it has some jars of a Salad Salsa, some other bulk foods, and a basket of Spanish onions.
Sorry for those who will read this twice, but I am going to make this shelving its own post as well.


  1. Narelle I made quince jam last week. I used to do all the cutting up and stuff but this time I just gave them a good wash and put them in the slow cooker with a little water and cooked them that way. When they were soft I just peeled off the skin and removed the core. Then just took it from there.
    Since moving to Queensland I have been able to buy them in Woolies most years. Mind you the last lot were $7.99 a kilo! But the results were worth it.
    When I was a child we would have them stewed with custard and that is when I fell in love with this fruit.
    Cheers, Karen near Gympie.

  2. Hi Karen, What a great idea....Until your brilliant hint, I was contemplating never cooking them again as it took so long to cut them up....now I can enjoy them again next season....thanks so much for sharing your idea.

  3. What a blog you have described! This is first time I have read. I love the apple jam very much from my childhood.


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