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  • FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver
    I just started using a FoodSaver vacuum sealer to seal foods and I can't believe I waited so long to get one. (Check out my first project: Sweet & Sour Green Bean Freezer Pickles!)
    For example: In the past I would take the time to pick beautiful berries, then would bring them home and stick them in a zippered baggie in the freezer. My berries would have ice crystals and taste freezer burnt after just a few short months. 
    Then I had a light-bulb moment: "Air is the enemy" of freshness. 
    When vacuum-sealed my berries last 3 to 4 times longer! I have similar results with other fruits, veggies and even meats & cheeses.
    The FoodSaver has been a fantastic discovery. ~ Brook
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    • Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer - Made in Finland
      Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer - Made in Finland
      Mehu-Liisa Products

      Some day I will replace my ancient graniteware Steam Juice Extractor with this gorgeous Mehu-Liisa brand Steam Juicer. My old Steam Juicer leaks steam, meaning I have to refill the water often, and it doesn't have anywhere close to the capacity of this one from Mehu-Liisa.
      If you want to experience the magic of a Steam Juicer, check out this 10 quart Mehu-Liisa. It will last you a lifetime and save you countless hours in the kitchen, whether your juicing fruit for  Plum Jelly or Apricot Nectar, not to mention it minimizes the mess of juicing large amounts of veggies!  ~ Brook

    • Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)
      Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)
      Ball
      What's the one jar size I always keep a couple extra cases of? 
      The Ball 4 ounce jar.
      It's basically 1/2 cup, and just the right size for gift-giving and for experimenting with small batches. Perfect for things like my famous Pear Honey.
      People can't help but say "That is so darn cute!" when they seem them. 
      ~ Brook

    • Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
      Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
      Presto
      Looking for an affordable, easy-to-use pressure canner, backed up by great customer service? Look no further than the Presto 23 quart Pressure Canner/Cooker. It's the one I recommend to all my students. ~ Brook

     

    Dilly Pickled Onion Slices on Punk Domestics

    • Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Orange) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
      Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Orange) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
      ThermoWorks
      Do you have a great instant-read thermometer, or are you still buying the 20 dollar ones that only last a year or two? This was one of my best kitchen purchases.
      Can't imagine cooking jam (or meat or candy) without it! 
      Take your jams to 220º and you'll have a perfect gel set every time. Also available in other colors, but why wouldn't you want orange? It's only the BEST COLOR EVER. ~ Brook

     

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    • The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)
      The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)
      by Carole Cancler
      If you're looking for a book that covers every preserving topic imaginable, this is the book for you. It doesn't have a flashy cover or glossy pictures, but it's full of great info. One of my very favorite resources. ~ Brook

    • OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper
      OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper
      OXO

      Last August my friend Kelli asked me if I wanted some fresh corn from her grandpa's garden. I said "Sure....I'd love to make a few jars of Sweet Corn Relish!"
      She showed up 6 hours later with 158 ears. Wasn't sure if I loved her or hated her for it.
      After a long hot day spent cutting kernels off all those cobs with a small paring knife, I decided I'd never be without a Corn Stripper again. ~ Brook

     

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    I have attempted to share safe preserving methods however you alone are responsible for your health & safety in your own kitchen or location. Be aware of current safety recommendations. Please see "Full Disclaimer" page for suggested preserving resources.

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    « Dried Apricot~Vanilla Bean Preserves | Main | Cinnamon-y Pear Sauce »
    Wednesday
    Jan262011

    Quince Paste (Membrillo)

         Quince Paste is a firm, slice-able fruit gel. It has a wonderful intense fruit flavor, with slightly floral qualities. It is also known as Membrillo or Quince Cheese in other parts of the world.

        Quince Paste is commonly served with breakfast breads. Sometimes it is soft enough it can be spread on the breads, but it is usually very thick. It can also be used to accompany roast meats and other savory dishes, with its rich sweet flavor complementing a range of foods, especially when eaten in contrast with something a bit salty. In Spain, quince paste & Manchego cheese is a very popular snack, with some people considering it the national dish of Spain.

         I pour my quince paste into greased aluminum molds while it's hot (and before it firms up). You can also just pour it into a square or rectangular greased pan and cut it into squares or shapes with a cookie cutter.

        Makes ~ 30 ounces (filled 10 - 3 oz molds)

    • 6 large quince, washed & quartered (~ 5 pounds)
    • 3 lemons, juiced
    • 5-6 cups sugar
    • vanilla bean (completely optional / non-traditional)

    1.) Place quince quarters in a large pan or stockpot. Add enough water to barely cover the fruit. (Add the optional vanilla bean at this point, or even a piece of one.) Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook about an hour, or until very tender. (Keep an eye on them; you might need to add a little more water from time to time.) Turn off heat and let quince stand for several hours.

    2.) Gently smash the quince quarters with a potato masher, then pour the entire mixture into a seive which is on top of another large pan or bowl, pressing to push the solids through, or run it through a food mill. (The peels, seeds and cores should remain in the seive or food mill.)

    3.) Measure the puree back into a large heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pan. (In other words, don't use an aluminum, copper, or cast iron pan when cooking with lemon juice.) Add an equal amount of sugar, plus the lemon juice.

    4.) Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. You can increase the heat a little if you are going to be diligent about babysitting the pan and stirring the mixture often. It might take an hour or more for it to thicken completely. It will also become darker. You'll know it's ready to pour into your mold(s) or jars when you can scrape a spoon across the pan and see the bottom of the pan for a few seconds.

    >>> I like to use an immersion blender to smooth out the puree once or twice during the last 15 minutes to ensure a satiny consistency.

    5.) Ladle into molds, a prepared pan, or into clean sterile jars with lids, and put the quince paste into the refrigerator to "cure".  If you have poured all of the mixture into one pan, please cover it well. If using molds, let them sit overnight to firm up, then unmold them into other containers with tight-fitting lids. You might need to invert them and run hot water over them briefly to loosen them, as with aspic or gelatin molds.

    The quince paste is best after 4 weeks, and will keep refrigerated for up to one year.

    Link to Quince Paste article with step-by-step photos

     

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