Quince Jam

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.

  • Yield: Makes about 5 half-pints.

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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Comments

  • Betty

    Many people have said that their jam doesn’t have the beautiful red color it’s supposed to. I have made the jam from several recipes, and have sometimes had red jam and sometimes a yellowish-beige (still delicious, though). In looking through my recipes, I see that some people say the red is enhanced when the seeds and cores are boiled along with the pulp, tied up in cheesecloth. The seeds can be used also – it seems less messy to put them into a metal tea infuser (the kind that closes). It’s worth a try, because that red color is gorgeous.

  • Alison

    My quinces fell off the tree, but they don’t smell ripe. Will they ripen in the kitchen?

    • Elise Bauer

      According to SFGate, “Color provides the best guide for determining ripeness. A fully ripe quince turns completely yellow at maturity. The fruit also develops a strong sweet fragrance once it’s fully ripe. The fruit also easily snaps off the tree once mature, so if the fruit begin to fall on their own, they are ripe and possibly approaching over-ripeness. Although quinces can continue to ripen after they are picked, they develop the best flavor when allowed to fully mature on the tree.” Source: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/tell-quince-ripe-58190.html

  • Kris B.

    the ingredient list shows 4 1/2 cups water, then the directions below says 6-8 quarts of water in pot, which one do I do? I cook for someone and they want me to make this, I don’t want to mess it up, I’ve never made jam or jelly before. Thank You so much!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kris, that’s 4 1/2 cups of water you put into a pot that can hold 6 to 8 quarts. I’ve clarified the instructions, thank you!

  • p ireland

    Just made quince jam but mine is not a pink colour or has thickened what has gone wrong? Are my quinces not ripened enough? was given to me by a neighbour

  • Irina

    Did you try this recipe? I think proportions of water is off. Too much. it looked like a compote after 1 hour of boiling. I had to remove half of liquid and still too much liquid.

  • eni

    Love the recipe, but my jam didn’t turn that beautiful pink colour, why? Emi

  • 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.

  • Heather

    Hi Sylvie- in the US Jelly is clear, with no bits of fruit. Jam has the fruit bits. :)

  • 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.

  • Robert

    I grew up with my mom making quince jam every year during my childhood. She got her quince from the several trees in the back yard. Quince jam on toast is one of my fondest memories. I got some quince from a neighbor and made quince jam with your recipe and it came out great! It was so easy once the fruit was grated. I did switch to a food processor half way through, much easier. I cooked it a bit longer and got 6 jars. The color came out just beautiful.

  • Judy

    To answer Heather’s question about using honey, the Ball Canning Co., states, “Up to 1/2 of the gran. sugar may be replaced with honey.” And, goes on to note that, honey changes the fruit flavour and may even mask it. A mild honey should thus, probably, be used.
    I found that as I was going through all my cookbooks, looking for a plain recipe.
    My childhood memories also have my grandmother and her delicious quince jam in them. I live in Vancouver, B.C. and we also have very few trees left. Today, to my surprise, I went to the local Persian deli, and there was a newly arrived box of quinces. Now I see that they are a staple in Iran. I can’t wait to get at them. Although I do think I’ll try using my food processor.
    Thank you so much, Elise.

  • Mimi

    Thank you very much for the recipe,
    I followed it exactly but the jam did not come out right. First I grated the quince too fine, so now I know the large grater holes are better.
    Then 6 cups of quince is much more than 5 quince,
    I probably used about 2 kgs, so the sugar I believe was a bit short. It does taste sweet but the quince is mushy and not caramelized.
    My grandma used to make quince jam and hers was crispy and very flavorsome.
    Mine came out a bit runny and mushy as I said/

  • Heather

    I’d love to make this recipe but I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of refined sugar I eat. Do you think I could substitute honey for the sugar? Would it still be safe to can without white sugar?

    Cheers!

    Great questions Heather, no idea about the answer, as I do not make jelly with honey. ~Elise

  • Peg

    I tried this today. A friend gave me a big box of quince a few weeks ago. I think maybe I didn’t cook it down long enough; the texture was still quite thick, almost like thick applesauce or marmalade. I’ll try cooking it linger next time. Also, I dissolved the sugar in the water before I added the fruit; does that make a difference in how fast the fruit cooks down? (I’ve done t that way with other fruits)

    I didn’t like the smell of these fruits cooking but normally I enjoy the fragrance of just putting ripe ones in a bowl to scent the house.

    I made seven small jars of jam and still have lots of fruit left over. I’m going to give them some foodie friends for the holidays.

  • Patsy Parker

    I have been growing quince bushes for years and this year first noticed a big, apple like fruit. I was wondering if I could mix with my rose hips to make my rose hip jam? Would it replace the lemon in my recipe?

    Great question. I mix green apples with my rose hips for my rose hip jam for the pectin. You could easily use quince with the rose hips for the same purpose. I don’t think it would replace lemon though. But hey, it’s an experiment, eh? Who knows? Worth playing around with it to find something that works for you. ~Elise

  • Jeff

    Elise, thank you for the recipe. We last made quince jam about ten years ago from the quince bush my wife’s grandmother planted in the front yard of our farm. We lost the recipe and my wife found yours. The lemon zest really adds something to the flavor. Good idea. As to the poster who suggested trouble getting the quince jam to turn pink, let me suggest that halving the sugar is the problem. It seems likely that it is the reduction of water while cooking the jam ‘open cover’ that not only thickens it, but also raises the temperature of the liquid in the pot, as in candy making. I suggest it is the raised temperature as the sugar concentration increases that releases the enzymes that cause the nearly finished jam to turn the rose colored pink that lets you know it is finished, except for final cooking to achieve the desired thickness of the finished product.
    Thank you for a wonderful recipe and the terrific photos. Also, the grating tip sure beats the carving and carving of misshapen quince fruit the first time I made quince jam, though I skinned two knuckles doing the grating.

  • Bill

    Hi
    Would anyone have a recipe for pear ginger & quince jam
    My grandmother often made it many years ago but I can’t find her recipe

  • Hugh

    I made this jam a few days ago, it was very easy- and the result is excellent. I note that some folk have difficulty with a grater.
    I used a food blender with a coarse chopping blade and it was all done in a few seconds.

  • Emily Z

    Great recipe although I halved the sugar and we’d like to keep the grated fruit in the jam so it actually has pieces of the fruit in it.

    The Problem: The batch didn’t come out pink. I cooked it for 50 minutes until all the liquid was gone. It came out light brown with a slight hue of pink.

    Any ideas?

    Hi Emily, I made this jam again with chopped, not grated, quince and the batch turned out as you indicated, light brown with a slight hue of pink, too. I also used half the sugar as an experiment. So I don’t know what to tell you. Other times I’ve cooked quince, the color has been a vibrant pink. ~Elise

  • Jen

    I just made a conserve with crystallized ginger and quince that turned out lovely-I can’t wait to try your jam. The grating technique sounds better than injuring my shoulder chopping all that hard quince into itty-bitty pieces.

    I did sterilize the jars in boiling water and then put the jars through a boiling water canner for fifteen minutes. I know with all that sugar in there it is probably overkill, but the USDA is pretty skilled at making people think they’ll turn into a pumpkin if they deviate from guidelines in the slightest.

  • Iva

    Such a beautiful photo! And so many childhood memories coming with it! My Mom used to make quice jam and we would have tea and jam on bread on long, dark, cold winter nights. I think she would put the seedboxes in a cheese-cloth and boil them together with the fruit. Apple seed boxes also contain a lot of pectin. My Mom and Grandma actually love eating raw quinces, though I’ve always found them a little hard to swallow.
    Thanks for a great post!

  • Mary Frances

    I have been making quince jelly for years from the fruit from the unsprayed ornamental bush in my yard. Usually the fruit is ready in October. It is my husband’s favorite jelly and now he is in charge of making it. You simply wash the quinces and cut out only the bad spots if any. The black spots that insects make are not bad and do not have to be removed. You roughly chop them and place in your kettle. Don’t worry about the seeds. Cover with about 1 inch water. Simmer until quinces are softened. Now comes the hard part. Devise a method for letting the quince mixture drip through 3 layers of cheesecloth. This takes a few hours. Then all you have to do is measure the quince liquid and add an equal amount of sugar. Boil to 220 degrees and ladle into sterilized jars and seal according to preserving directions. That is all there is to it.

    Yep, that’s basically our approach to quince jelly too. Thanks for reminding us about the spots the insects make. The first time I made jelly with my friend George, his quince were pretty “invaded”, but it made absolutely no difference to the beautiful, clear outcome. ~Elise

  • Sarah

    Elise, this recipe is so much easier than the way I’ve been doing it! Thank you for posting it. In fact, I think this is the first recipe I’ve seen online for jam; so many people just make jelly, which I’m not fond of. I will have to try this next year. Do you think a “butter” would work with quinces? I was thinking of trying it with apples and pears, of course the quince would need to be cooked a bit longer than the other fruit.

    Yes, I think a quince butter would be great. I would use different seasonings with it than apple butter though, something more floral. Would be fun to experiment. ~Elise