Quince Jam

Recipe for a simple quince jam made with grated fresh quince, sugar, and lemon juice.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 4 1/2 cups of water in a large (6-8 quart), wide, thick-bottomed saucepan 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 43 Comments

  • Sandra

    Hi,
    I have a few quince trees and plenty of quinces so I dehydrate them, I eat them raw
    or cut in large pieces add same maple syrup and bake in microwave (2-3 min).
    When I made jam I use half water and have herbal tea ( I use mint from my garden – fresh or dry) and the color of jam is stunning.

  • V. Solomon

    After reading the comments, I added a cheesecloth bag full of cores and seeds to the shredded fruit. The quince stayed yellow-ish until it had cooked for about 40 minutes. At 50 minutes, the jam was a lovely rose color. I also added green cardamom pods (in cheesecloth), which is a great touch. Thank you for this recipe, and thanks to others for their helpful comments.

  • Alan

    For those of you wondering about the color of your jam, know that quince requires two things to unlock its beautiful red: sugar and time. If the quince in your jam is still looking blonde it either doesn’t have enough sugar, or (and more likely) it hasn’t been simmering long enough.

    For those asking about consistency, know that a good gel requires three things: pectin, sugar, and acid. Quince supplies all the natural pectin a jam could ask for (and more), though greener fruits will have slightly more. I usually use a combination of slightly more and less ripe fruits for a batch, though even ripe fruits have plenty of pectin. Lemon juice supplies the acid, and you supply the sugar.

    Also, while extra water can usually just be cooked off, it’s not always even necessary! One old world method of making quince jam involves chopping the quince, tossing them with the sugar in the pot in which you intend to cook them, and then just letting them sit overnight. The sugar will draw out whatever water is in the fruit and it’s just the right amount to cook your quince in.

    As a final note, save those seeds! The seeds are VERY rich in pectin, and in fact sometimes they will be swimming in mucilage when you scoop them out of their pods in the core. These can be used to make a thick tea that soothes a sore throat by steeping them in boiled water for 5-10 minutes and adding some honey. I have also used them as a natural source of additional pectin in other jams that need it (strawberry, grape, cherry, etc) by placing them in the jam in a pouch of cheesecloth while it cooks.

  • Pauline Pinfold

    Hi, I’ve just finished my first cooking of quinces, will it carryon setting now jared

  • lillian

    why do you get mould on top of my jams and preserved fruit do everthing the receipt says can someone give me a clue where im going wrong thanks

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