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.
More Standout Preserves to Try:
Quince are available in October and 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.
2 pounds (about 5 quince) quince
4 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 cups sugar
- 5 half-pint canning jars
Prep and grate the quince:
Prepare the quince by washing and cutting them 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.
Simmer the grated quince with lemon juice and zest until soft:
Put 4 1/4 cups of water in a large (6-8 quart), wide, thick-bottomed pan or pot 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.
Add the sugar and simmer until thickened:
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. (If the jam has thickened but hasn't turn pink, add a little more water and cook a little longer.)
Ladle into jars:
Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying clean, dry lids.
Process for longer storage:
If you'd like to can your jam for longer storage, process the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
Sealed jars of jam will be good for at least 1 year. Open jars of jam (or jars that were not processed) should be refrigerated and will be good for at least a few months.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 12g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 11g|
|Vitamin C 5mg||24%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|