J is for Jelly Making

With the glut of produce from their kitchen gardens and orchards, the great country houses of Suffolk no doubt were adept at this form of preserving.  It is nice to think that this recipe for medlar jelly dated 1897, was once used in the kitchen of the White family of Boulge Hall.

Boulge Hall, 20th century (K681/1/49/17)

Boulge Hall, 20th century (K681/1/49/17)

The medlars would have been bletted (or ripened) until soft, cooked in water until soft and pulpy and then strained through a jelly bag.  The resulting juice was boiled with sugar until setting point had been reached.  Sadly, medlar jelly is not so popular now and the fruit is not so readily available, but the flavour is akin to truffles and it is a wonderful accompaniment to cold meat or cheese.  The hall went into decline after the Second World War, became derelict and was demolished in 1955.  The archive of the White family of Boulge Hall is held at Ipswich Record Office under reference HA244.

Recipe for medlar jelly, 1897 (HA244/D/13/1)

Recipe for medlar jelly, 1897 (HA244/D/13/1)