Quince Jam

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 Recipe

  • 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.

Yum

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

Showing 4 of 40 Comments

  • Jen (Modern Beet)

    What a beautiful rosy jam!

    I always see quince at the farmer’s market during this time of year, but never buy any as I’ve never known what to do with them. Perhaps I’ll pick some up this weekend and try this jam.

    BTW, I have made your lemon marmalade a couple of times now, and it is so delicious! Thanks!

  • Sylvie

    I used to go walking through ‘fields’ of wild garlic years ago and didn’t know about it. Where I live now I have no idea where I can find any, so I no how you feel about the quince tree! The jam has such a pretty colour. I always thought that jam was called jelly in the US?!

  • FoodJunkie

    Hello Elise!
    It is definitely quince time in the blogosphere. You know, in Greece we make a “spoon sweet” with quince and use apple geranium leaves to flavour it. It really brings out the quince flavour. Ginger is also nice, though more exotic. We also cook quince with meat and it is really yummy.

    Indeed. I think poached quince with pork would be delicious. Didn’t think to use scented geranium, what a great idea! I have some rose geranium growing which would work well with the quince jam. ~Elise

  • Hilary @ Smorgasbite

    Elise,

    I think we must be on the same subconscious wavelength. I just posted a recipe with quince, too!

    I told my fiance that they were poisonous raw. Even after I cooked my compote, he was suspicious.

    Hilary

    Hi Hilary, I don’t think they are poisonous raw, just so astringent that you wouldn’t want to eat them. Apparently there are some varieties that you can eat raw though. ~Elise

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