Quince Cheese
I just got my first harvest of quinces. Can I make quince cheese?

Yes, but don't. Quince cheese is not a good beginners' project. It will take months before it is ready to eat and you will not want to wait that long to find out if it even came out OK, let alone enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Make quince jam instead. Then make quince syrup for making soda pop or jello. Then take the pulp left over from that and make another liquid from it and save it in the freezer. You will use this liquid later when you are ready to make quince cheese. When you have made enough jam and syrup for yourself for a year and to give some as gifts, and still have enough quince left over, then go ahead and make quince cheese.

 Making Quince "Cheese" a.k.a. Fruit Leather 

Preparation:

Select the largest, smoothest quinces you have.
Put some of the quince liquid you saved from your last batch of jam into a bowl.
Peel  and core the quinces, cutting off the plain, clean pulp. Put the cleaned pulp into the bowl of quince liquid. (Put the cores and peels and  all the too small and knobbly fruit into the crockpot and make quince jam with it. We wouldn't want to waste it.)

Making the quince cheese:

Take a small amount of the quince liquid made as a by-product when making jam and put it  into a blender and turn on high. Feed the pieces of quince into the blender slowly one at a time, so you can blend the quince using as little liquid as possible. Add more liquid if necessary, but the less liquid you use making your quince mush now, the sooner the cheese/leather will dry out and you will be able to eat it later. 

When you have finished pureeing all the quince pulp, put it into a saucepan with an equal amount of jam sugar (sugar with pectin already added*), turn heat on high, bring rapidly to a boil and boil for 5 minutes while stirring. (You may want to wear gloves, because it will spit hot flecks out occasionally.)

Take off the heat and pour it into molds. The thinner the molds, the quicker it will dry out. The deeper the mold, the more impressive it will look when it finally dries. You could also let it cool off completely and spread it on waxed paper. Set the molds in a dry, out-of-the-way spot. After a month, take the "cheeses" out of the molds and transfer to plates. After that, take them out once a month and turn over, draining off any liquid.


They should be ready to eat in a few months to a  year, depending on time:water:size ratio. These pictured below took 5 months.

Quince Cheese


*To make jam sugar:
Mix a 2kg/5lb bag of sugar with a small (about half-a-cup) bottle of liquid pectin (such as Certo). (Can be made ahead of time and will keep indefinitely. Don't worry if it dries out and turns hard. Just use it as is.) Or use sugar and a dry pectin such as Sure-jell in the proportions given on the package instructions.

Note: These instructions are based on my own, personal experience. You may find other instructions that tell you there are ways to make it that are easier, quicker and will turn out just as good a finished product. If you wish to follow them, I wish you best of luck.




The Solar Food Dryer by Eben Fodor
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning by the gardeners and farmers of Centre Terre Vivante
Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables by Nancy Bubel




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