Quince Jam

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

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 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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Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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?!

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Timothy

    I grew up in north-west Indiana and had quince jelly on my toast most mornings. I well remember the wonderful smell of quince cooking on my grandmother’s stove and the jars and jars of pinkish-red goodness lining the basement shelves along with black raspberry and wild strawberry jams and jellies. My aunt would bake whole quince like apples and my cousins cried for it every year, but I never had any — the jelly was good enough.
    Today, 70 years later, there are two quince bushes (not Japanese or flowering quince) in my yard, and I make jelly for me and my grandchildren.
    I am amazed that people have forgotten this wonderful treat.

  6. 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

  7. Diana Schleicher

    I still use quince, and it is sooo good! You can usually get it at major stores this time of year. I accidentally discovered that if you put the quince in the freezer after they are ripe, when you are ready to use them, they are much easier to work with. No grating. Just a quick whirl in the food processor. I have quince jam/jelly all the time. My Mom used to grind her quince before it was ripe and I don’t like the end result. Always use ripe quine.

  8. Marj

    Qunice jam is a staple on persian breakfast tables. It’s cut into thin slices and the colour I recall for quince jam is deep ruby/garnet colour. You can always find fresh quince in persian markets as well as the jam. There is also a savory stew that is made with quinces ( khoresh-e beh) similar to an apple stew ( khoresh-e seeb)… yum

  9. Bilge Diker Diker

    Hi Elise,
    My mom had a quince tree in her backyard and all year we were eating quince dessert and quince jam at home.
    Did you know that quince seeds have lots of pectin?
    My mom never used pectin for any jam but quince seeds.
    After you take off the core, take all the seed inside and boil them in a cup of water, you will see how it become solidify. Then use that when you are making any kind of jam from any kind of fruit.
    Cheers,
    Bilge

  10. Emily

    I made quince jelly earlier this fall from our Japanese Quince bush and it turned out great. You can see it here. Quince Posts I got the inspiration from your previous post about Quince Jelly and from Joy of Cooking’s canning recipes. We’re enjoying it on our toast. Next year I’ll have to try the quince jam. I wondered how I’d deal with coring them since the core is so hard. I really like your suggestion of grating it off the core.

  11. 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

  12. Petite Kitchen

    I’ve never eaten a quince. I will have to give it a shot. I just made my first batch of jam, ever. Cranberry. I’ll have to look at making some quince jam too. Thanks for posting.

  13. Andrea

    I think that’s one of the prettiest pictures you’ve ever taken!

    I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten quince. Thanks for the inspiration and recipe.

  14. Dana

    I planted a quince tree in my yard and mixed the quince with figs for a nice jam. It is good!

    That is great info about the seeds having pectin in them! Thanks Bilge!

    This is the greatest place for recipes! :-)

  15. katy

    I saw quinces at the farmer’s market last night and was in such a big hurry, I didn’t get them. Now I’m so bummed — hopefully they’ll be back on wednesday!

  16. Margarida

    Hi Elise! First time I comment, but since the issue is Quince I couldn’t help myself. My mother and both my grandmothers used to make it every year, back in Portugal. They always put cinnamon sticks togheter with the fruit, which gives it a really nice flavour. But they put the seeds and cores in a cloth, so they could remove it once everything was cooked. Then they would strain the liquid to make jelly and pulp the fruit to make “marmelada”, or quince cheese. No waste…

  17. 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!

  18. Nilu

    Mmmm… my mom recently made me a batch of Persian quince jam. It’s one of my favorite jams (along with Persian sour cherry jam)! The quince jam has cardamom in it, and it’s cut into slices, not grated. There’s also a Persian quince stew, but I haven’t had that before.

  19. Sophia from Kitchen Caravan

    Elise, your posts on quince are magical. I am going to use your jam recipe to give as little gifts this Christmas to all of my friends and family. I think that people love getting home-made gifts, and your jam looks gorgeous!

    I made a Goat, Quince, and Hyssop Stew the other day and blogged about it. I used sweet potato, parsnips, and carrots as the accompaniments to further pull out the sweetness. It is an idea for those who were mentioning using quince in stews above. I used local pasture-raised goat meat, but lamb is perfectly fine as well.

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. TammieWhammie

    I also grew up with a quince tree and quince jelly. The smell of quince brings me back to my childhood. We have moved to the state of Washington and just last spring we planted a quince tree in the back yard. I can’t wail for it to bear fruit. If you have the chance to try quince you really should give it a try.

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. Doirs Anderson

    I was coming home from an afternoon walk today when I came upon a tree with large unusual fruit hanging from it. At first glance I thought it was a commice pear however, it is the wrong time of year for this type or any other type of pear, I was intrigued by fruit, the owner came out and said he thought it was a crab apple and to take as many as I wanted, seeing that they would never use them. (The tree was loaded). I proceeded to ask my nieghbor (who works in an orchard) what this delightful smelling fruit was, he informed me that it was a quince, and that when he was a little boy in Sweden his mother would make a quince leather that was like candy. I raced home and found the recipes on this web site. Can’t wait to try the jelly, and other yummy ideas. I feel like I struck gold today!

  27. 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

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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/

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. Rex

    We moved into our house over ten years ago and I noticed a small wizen straggerly plant with bright green leaves and prickles under our huge climbing hydranger. I did not bother it and it did not bother me. I cut it back most years and left it. Mid autumn this year whilst giving the garden it’s anual no 2, I noticed three quite large fruits growing on said plant. I was amazed to see that it was a QUINCE!!!!Spring next year it will be promoted to pride of place in garden and nurtured with great care. Wow, what a surprise. You see you never know what you have until it is ready to show you. Now for the jelly.
    REX

    Isn’t that funny? I lived in a house in San Francisco for 4 years with a quince tree and never did a thing with the fruit because I didn’t know anything about it. Here’s to wonderful little discoveries such as your tree! ~Elise