Early October I paid a visit to Nissleys, a favorite local vineyard. While taking the self-guided tour of the grounds and winery, I ended up getting into a conversation with one of the horticulturists; it was bound to happen, he was wearing a tie-dye shirt and I had on a patchwork skirt. We talked about stink bugs, a new species of fruit fly, and of course, food preservation. Turns out he knew a jam guru that puts up thousands of jars a year. Wow! While trading insider tips, we ended up on the subject of quince. I had never seen a quince, let alone worked with one, but it just so happened they were about to go into season!
Quince are a green fruit with a flavor combination similar to an apple and a pear.
Ten minutes after arriving home I was on the phone with my local orchards. Jack pot! Cherry Hill had them and they would be ready for harvest in about a week. This gave me plenty of time for a bit of recipe research!
Spicy Quince Apple Chutney
2 lbs quince, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1″ pieces. THAT was the biggest pain in my a$$! Of course, the very next day I happened upon this tutorial. Thank you Murphy. You and your law can suck it!
4 lbs tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used a mix of Winesap and Honey Crisp.)
3/4 cup water
3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp cracked black pepper (I used whole peppercorns and my mortar and pestle for this task.)
1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tsp turmeric
half bulb of garlic, minced
3″ piece of ginger, grated
5 Chinese 5-color peppers, seeded and minced (They are a very small, hot pepper I grew this year.)
2 purple beauty peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups cider vinegar
1 Tbsp pickling salt
2-1/3 cups light brown sugar
Place quince and water into a medium pot and bring to a simmer; cook covered until soft. This took me about 40 minutes, but may take as little as 20 minutes or as long as 90, so don’t wonder too far! Strain and set aside.
While your quince are cooking, begin to prep your remaining ingredients. Once your ginger is grated, garlic is minced, etc, add the oil to a large sauce pot and turn the heat to med. Add the mustard seeds and cook ’til they begin to pop. Add the remaining spices (except for the salt) and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Important PSA: Keep your face AWAY from the spicy steam unless you enjoy lung-burning, tear-induced, coughing fits, that hinder one’s ability to to breathe for the next 2 minutes. I’m just sayin’.
Add garlic, ginger, and peppers, cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the apples and mix well, then add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and quince.
Stir the chutney, combining all the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If your chutney is thickening too fast, add a bit of water.
When you have about 30 minutes remaining on your chutney, begin preparing your jars. Keep hot, sterilized jars in a warm oven (200°F) until you are ready to ladle in your chutney, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Remove air bubbles, add two-piece adjustable lids to fingertip-tight, and process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes, or for your recommended altitude processing time.
H2H’s recipe yielded her 8 half-pints, I ended up with 14! I did not change any quantities; however, I used an apple peeler which resulted in a less chunky 4 lbs of apples. The end result was delicious and I’ve been enjoying it paired up with pan-fried crispy tofu!!
Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Hitchhiking to Heaven.