Quince Jam

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Years ago, backyard quince trees were common. People would cultivate them to harvest the fruit for cooking in pies or preserves. Inedible raw, and looking like a cross between a pear and a golden apple, quince cook up sweet, with a vibrant rose color and a floral aroma and flavor.

These days you can still find an odd tree here and there in backyards of older houses, though chances are the owners don’t know the culinary delights available in these hard yellow fruit.

(I had a quince tree in the yard of my rented home in San Francisco for 4 years and never once cooked a quince. Now that I know better, just to think of it makes me want to bang my head on the wall.)

Here is an easy recipe for a simple quince jam. Feel free to spice it up a little with nutmeg, cardamom, or vanilla.

Quince Jam

Quince Jam Recipe

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  • Yield: Makes about 5 half-pints.

Quince are available in October, November in the Northern Hemisphere.

When choosing what quince to pick or buy, smell the bottom of the fruit. It should have a strong floral fragrance. If not, it's not fully ripe.

If the fruit comes from an organically grown tree, it may easily have worms in the cores. No problem for jam making, just cut the wormy pieces away from the rest and discard.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (packed) of quince, rinsed, grated (discard cores, leave peel on), from about 2
    lbs of quince (about 5 quince)
  • 4 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 cups sugar

Method

1 Prepare the quince by washing and cutting in half. Working around the core, grate the quince flesh (including the peel) with a cheese grater, until you have about 6 cups of grated quince.

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2 Put water in a large, wide, thick-bottomed saucepan (6-8 quarts) and bring to a boil. Add the grated quince, lemon juice and lemon zest. Reduce heat and simmer until the quince is soft, about 10 minutes.

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3 Add the sugar and bring to a boil again. Stir to dissolve all of the sugar. Lower the heat to medium high. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until quince jam turns pink and thickens to desired consistency, about 30-50 minutes.

4 Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars* and seal. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids.

* To sterilize the jars, rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

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Adapted from the quince jam recipe in Fethiye's Yogurt Land blog.

Links:

Quince jelly

Wikipedia on Quince

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Showing 4 of 43 Comments

  • Miriam

    At last! A quince jam recipe that doesn’t require hours and hours of stirring. Thanks for posting.

  • fatima

    We are blessed with our veryvown quince tree here in Swartruggens, North West Province, South Africa. I am looking forward to trying out your receipe for quince jam. Thank you!

  • Graham Wright

    Lovely recipe Elise. I preferred chunky pieces instead of the grated. Boiling the fruit pieces, lemon juice and zest in a pressure cooker for 7 minutes softens the fruit and saves a lot of time, I boil the cores and pips tied in a muslin bag together with the fruit for pectin.

  • bige kesmir

    Here in Turkey we are very familiar with quince and all you can do with it. During autumn months we prepare a dessert with quince which is delicious. My mom now 101 years old, she loved to eat them raw until a couple of years ago (when she could still bite into them!)
    Now I am trying its pectin and pulp which is very rich, to use in a ”red pepper and pepperoncini sauce”
    If I am successful I’ll be happy to share it with those who may be interested.

  • Jenn

    This is a great recipe for a beginner jammer :) There was a Quince tree where I grew up and folks from all around used to come and ask to harvest the tree to make jam. In return they’d bring back a few jars of jam. It was always ok with my father that they wanted the fruit, it would otherwise go to waste so why not let someone enjoy it?? Today, I sit in that same home looking out the window at the tree (I know it’s a bush but I call it a tree because it is HUGE)….I’ve watched them for many years just rot and go to waste, everyone that knew about them and knew what Quince Jam even was is probably long gone…. I hate to see them go to waste, so this year I will send the kids out to pick them, and I’ll make jam, maybe even take it down to the farmers market and see if anyone remembers this simple delight. Would make me happy to see someone enjoying it. :) Thanks for the recipe share.

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