Autumn goodies

Autumn is a fabulous time for those of us who like to squirrel. The garden is packed full of produce that, given the time and inclination, can be transformed into goodies for the leaner winter months.

Quince Jelly

Everybody loves a jar of this beautifully fragrant jelly. Be sure to use freshly picked quince as they are highest in pectin.


2kg quince


Rub the quince well to remove fluff from the skin. Chop into large chunks, leaving skin and cores.

Place the pieces in a large saucepan and add enough water to just cover the fruit.

Bring to the boil and simmer until very soft this will take about 45 minutes.

Line a sieve with an old clean tea towel and place over a deep bowl.

Pour the fruit and cooking water into the sieve.

Leave to drip juice into the bowl for 24 hours, making sure you don’t press the fruit to try to speed things up as your jelly could become cloudy.

Measure juice by the cup back into the cleaned saucepan. Add an equal number of cups of sugar to the juice. Boil briskly until it reaches a jelly consistency. To test if jelly is ready, drop a teaspoon of jelly on to a cold saucer if it forms a skin, it is ready.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal when cold.

Quince vodka

Quince vodka and soda is a delightfully fragrant drink. You can also make feijoa vodka by slicing a pile of feijoas into rings and following the same method as the quince vodka. Quantities are not imperative it is more of a concept than having to accurately measure. Do make sure that the jar is filled right to the top with vodka though.


4 large quince
1½ cups caster sugar
1 litre vodka


Rub fluff from quince and then grate into a large clean jar. You don’t need to peel or core, just grate the whole fruit.

Add the sugar to the jar, shake well and then pour over the vodka.

Seal the jar and leave in a cool dark place for six months before straining into bottles.

The best tomato sauce


6.5kg tomatoes
4 large onions, roughly chopped
2kg sugar
100g plain salt
25g black peppercorns
25g whole cloves
50g whole allspice
40g acetic acid*
½ tsp cayenne pepper


Place the tomatoes and onions into a large, heavy-based preserving pan.

Cook over a gentle heat until a reasonable amount of liquid has been released and then add the sugar and salt.

Tie the peppercorns, cloves and allspice in a piece of muslin and add to the pan.

Gently boil for 2-3 hours until the mixture is thick stir at times.

Pass the sauce through a mouli to remove seeds and skins. Alternatively, you can remove skins manually and puree with a blender. Return sauce to the washed out pan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and add acetic acid and cayenne pepper, stirring to combine.

Pour the sauce through a funnel into sterilised bottles and seal when cold.

*Note: Using acetic acid eliminates the need for vinegar, which is a diluted form of the same. Take care when handling acetic acid as it can be a skin irritant. If difficult to source, then use a reduced amount of the more concentrated glacial acetic acid, available from pharmacies.