Medlar jelly is delicious: it also makes very welcome, and unbuyable, Christmas gifts
This fabulous, jewel-like jelly is hard to be without over Christmas once you’ve tasted it: it goes with so much of the festive season’s offerings. Use semi-bletted fruit (or an equal mix of fruit that’s bletted and not) to get plenty of dates flavor and enough pectin for a good set. Don’t mash the simmering fruit or squeeze through the muslin: it makes for cloudy jelly.
1kg medlars halved
Juice of half a lemon
500g caster sugar, approx
One vanilla pod, split along its length
Put the medlars in a large pan with the lemon juice and just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for an hour. Strain overnight through a jelly bag or muslin into a bowl.
Put a saucer into the freezer. Measure the juice and pour into a clean pan. For each 500ml of milk, add 375g of caster sugar. Add the vanilla pod and warm gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil, without stirring, for five minutes. Test the jelly for the setting point by dribbling a little jam on to a chilled saucer, leaving it for a minute and then pushing it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s done. Allow another few minutes’ boiling if the setting point hasn’t been reached and test again. Repeat if necessary.
Pour into sterilized, warm jars and seal. The jelly will keep, sealed, in a cool, dark place, for at least 12 months. Don’t throw the pulp on the compost heap. Sieved, it can be used to make chutney.