Which brings me to how I ended up with 10lbs (4.5kg) of quince. Ben and I were at the farmer’s market on the weekend when we saw boxes of the unsightly-looking fruit. We’d never bought quince before. In fact, the only reason we even paused was that when we were in France last May, we stayed at Le Manoir de la Maison Blanche in Amboise, where they served delicious homemade jams with our breakfast baguette. One of the jams, of course, was quince.
Memories of France, combined with my new commitment to local eating (and cooking!) somehow convinced me that buying mountains of quince was a good idea. We would make jam. It would be fun, and the results would be delicious. I could be one of those (increasingly few) people who brought a jar of homemade jam when dropping in for a visit. Nevermind that the only thing I knew about jam-making was based on a novel called Blue Jelly (subtitled “Love Lost and the Lessons of Canning”). But, I thought, how hard can it be? My grandpa used to pickle eggs. Surely jam was easier.
I don’t know about eggs, but jam was easy. And we haven’t died of botulism. Yet. Here’s how we did it:
5 lbs of quince + sugar to taste (about 2 cups) + water + 1 tbsp lemon juice = YUM
After blending until it was the consistency of chunky applesauce, the whole lot went back into the pot, along with two cups of the saved quince liquid, about two cups of sugar, and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
At this point, I was feeling like a bit of a homesteader (perhaps a tad hyperbolic – but I’m a city gal, and canning is so old school). Ben took this photo of me barefoot, pregnant, and slaving over a hot store. Except I’m not barefoot. I’m stirring. And stirring. You’ve got to keep the fruit moving, lest it brown and stick to the pot. Bring the fruit to a boil and let ‘er rip for about 20 minutes, or until the setting point is reached.
Next, we spooned the fruit into sterilized jars, threw some lids and rings on, and then boiled the jars in my mom’s old canner for 10 minutes.
The result: eight jars of lovely, thick quince jam. Invite me around for tea and I might just bring you a jar.