Friday 22 November 2013

Sweet quince vinegar

In her excellent book Salt Sugar Smoke, Diana Henry gives a stunning sounding recipe for sweet fig vinegar. Given that the figs from our tree get eaten as soon as they are picked, the chances of accumulating enough figs to make a vinegar seem remote. But I did wonder if the same principles could be used to make a quince vinegar from my quince glut this year.

The resulting vinegar has a tantalising aroma – almost rose-like, the perfumed apple scent that has been filling my kitchen since the quinces were picked from the tree. This is a sweet vinegar, good for salad dressings, adding to sauces, etc.

3 quinces, cored and chopped
500ml cider vinegar
About 375g sugar

Bake the quinces whole in a little water for about an hour or until soft, sprinkling a little sugar over them to tease out the juices.

Chop the quinces roughly, removing stalk and pips, and pile into a sterilised 1-litre jar. Pour over the vinegar and squish the quince pieces in the vinegar with a potato masher if the neck of the jar is wide enough, a or a spoon if it isn’t. Seal the jar and leave it for about a week or two, turning it over and squishing again occasionally.

Next, strain the quince and vinegar through a muslin, jellyag or unused J-Cloth into a measuring jug. For every 300ml vinegar, weigh out 225g sugar. Pour the vinegar into a pan, add the requisite amount of sugar and bring to the boil stirring to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for five minutes, then leave to cool.

While it’s cooling, wash and sterilise a jar just big enough to take the vinegar, then pour it in, seal and keep somewhere cool and dark.

The glut of quinces from the crop I picked last month has just about been finished – I have precisely two quinces left. Apart from the quince vinegar here and the quince jelly and quince cheese, blogged here for the Secret Garden Club, I’ve also used the following recipes to make quince dishes. My family is going to be so pleased when they are finally gone!

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