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Medlar Jelly

To make the strongest, ruby-coloured and most flavoursome jelly, pick medlars when they are just beginning to ripen, but are still firm and a warm rusty green.

Ingredients

Makes about 1.3kg Jelly

1.8kg Medlars
3.6Lt cold water
900g Granulated Sugar
Juice from 2 lemons

Method

Cut the Medlars in two; put them in a large stainless steel pan and cover them with 2.4Lt water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, to break down the fruit. Strain the fruit through a Jelly bag.

Because Medlars are a rather dry fruit you will only achieve a small, but intesely flavoured amount of juice from the first cooking, I like to process the pulp a second time to extract the utmost flavour and some more volume before throughing it away. To do this, return the strained pulp to the saucepan and add the remaining 1.3Lt of water. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Strain this through the jelly bag to join the first batch of juice.

You should now have about 1.2Lt of strained juice. Do not worry if this is a slightly brown colour. Put this into a deep stainless steel pan or special preserving pan, and add the sugar and lemon juice. The pectin content of the Medlars is quite high and the Jelly will probably set well without the addition of Lemon juice, but it will help guarantee a good result.

Warm the liquid to disolve the sugar completely and then boil until setting point is reached. This is about 110 deg C. Tip the jelly into small, warm, clean jars before it starts to thicken, filling them well. Seal with circles of waxed paper or baking paper, screw on the lids tightly and store in a cold, dark place.

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Cooking Tips:

  • Basil, rose petals, mint, rosemary, nasturtium flowers or pods and other edible flowers are great as a garnish for your fine dining and are a pleasant alternative to parsley.
  • Finely chopped fresh herbs will produce a stronger flavor.
  • Dried herbs are almost 4 times stronger than Fresh. If you are cooking with dried herbs and your recipe calls for fresh herbs you can reduce the amount accordingly.
  • When cooking with garlic or onions, rub your hands under your stainless steel faucet with the water running to get rid of the smell. For some reason the stainless steel works it’s magic and eliminates the odour completely.
  • Never soak diced vegetables in water before preparing them or they will lose all their nutrients.
  • Run wilted lettuce under cold water, shake it dry, wrap it in paper towels and place in your refrigerator over night. The next day it will have perked right up.
  • If you plan on doing any canning you can use vinegar to clean and deodorize any old jars you want to reuse and to remove fruit stains from your hands.