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.
Lori W. says
Hi Andrea, congratulations on your bump!
Quince is a tricky fruit to work with, as I have discovered, but it is well worth it. I think you need to boil in more than 20 minutes to make jam. Did you use a recipe specifically for quince–I boil it for a long time and it turns a rosy pink. I like the jelly the best because of the pectin content it sets up quite nicely.
come around for tea anytime…
…i want to try the jam.
Hi Lori –
You might be right. My jam is pretty thick, but it’s almost more like conserves. Still yummy though! I have 5lbs more quince that I will try a different method on.
Robin – you’re on! I will bring some over for our Sex and the City night.
I KNEW you’d start cooking before long!
I don’t know, it seems to me that gardening and cooking go together like-
rice & beans
peas & carrots
vanilla & hot fudge
braised short ribs & polenta
okay, I’m hungry now… gotta go …
cynthia korzekwa says
Robin (Bumblebee) says
Wasn’t Animal, Vegetable, Mineral a great book!?! It has also inspired me to eat more locally and to preserve more of what I grow. I have a tendency to enjoy the summer harvest–but do little to preserve for the winter.
Germi – you got me! Canning is addictive, too (I’m working on my second batch as I type this). It has similar qualities to baking, which I do enjoy. Just a matter of keeping at it, I suppose!
Cynthia – thanks! And double thanks for the mention on your blog. :)
Robin – Totally an inspirational book. I tell everyone about it. I’m becoming a little bit evangelical, actually!
Patti Kelly says
Thank you for the recipe; my epicurean friends loved the preserves with goat cheese and lime cordial.
Can I mention my good friends, Walter and Lauren of Snowy Mountain Farm in Cawston, BC who grew the organic quince? They sell year round in Vancouver at most of the weekend markets.
Where can you buy the jars? Do you have to put certain amount of sugar for long time preserve?
To boil the fresh, you have to continue stirring, otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pot, right.
Andrea Bellamy says
Patti – I wonder if I bought my quince from them!
Cindy – you can buy canning jars at most supermarkets. Sugar, as well as proper canning methods, helps preserve the jam. Yep, just stir frequently as it’s bubbling away. Enjoy!
Read the whole procedure to make the quince
jam,but I see you used a food processor.
Well I do not have one,however I have my Kenwood liquidizer.If I use the liquidizer,it will turn out like “mashed potatoes” which it would hardly result in the same consistency.
What say you to that?
I live in South Wales in the bungalow my Gran left behind. She’d told me about the quince bush in the garden, and that you could make jam from the fruit. Well this year I decided to go for it and came across your site. Maybe it’s a British variety, but my quinces are somewhat stouter and uglier than yours, but the flesh inside is good. Mine didn’t take long to boil either. In fact the fruit pulped itself in the pot! My advice to anyone using the UK quince is the core them first, but put the cores and seeds into a muslin bag in the pot, getting the pectin, but not the nasty bits should the fruit over-soften. I ended up boiling the jam for at least 40 mins til it went red and it passed the crinkle test. Very pleased with the results. Now for the jelly!
Great stuff! I had a similarly experimental mood last year, when I found a few quince trees. Since the owners weren’t interested in the fruit, I picked 2kg of quinces. These are a much smaller, but very aromatic, dwarf variety. I made this into a large batch of jelly – simply cook, pulp, and strain.
This year I tried a quince marmelade. Just let it cook, then pulp – pips, core, and peel included.
Both the quince marmelade and the jelly taste excellent on aged cheeses, and cured ham. Also wonderful stuff for pies, desserts, or simply on a slice of toasted bread.
Hi, I can recommend seasoning the jam with spices. I used 1/2 vanillapod (sliced in two), 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3 cloves and 6 whole cardamom. Made jam of 6 large quinces, juice from one lemon, 450 grams sugar and 4 desilitre of water. Cooked on low heat for 1 hour, then poured into sterilised jars. Wonderful now in the wintertime!
Everett R Littlefield says
Andrea, When I do mine, I use the 5 lbs of fruit, peeled AND cored and add the sugar right at the beginning. Simmer and stir till the stuff turns pink to light red. Try NOT to break up all the larger pieces! Put into cleaned sterilized jars, I use 1/2 pint to 1 pint sizes.WIPE the rim before putting on the top and then put in a boiling water bath that covers the jars by at least 2″. Bring the water back to a full rolling boil and then boil it for a minimum of 20 mins. Longer does not hurt in case you forgot to set the timer. This is the way my family has been doing it for the last 350 years here on the small island called Block Island here off the coast of RI.
Put on hot biscuits or BI johnnycakes with some fresh butter and you will think you have died and gone to heaven!
Happy cooking, Everett
I am also in Vancity and would love to get some quince as I haven’t had it in years. Which farmer’s market did you get it in?
Great stuff says
I grew up in S. Africa, where Quince was a must have for jelly. Now living in Canada I grew a quince tree & I am going to make my jam today. The only thing we do not do is add lemon to it as it then prevents the quince to turn that lovely pinkish red colour. Great to see people knowing about quince. Such a fabulous fruit. Great reports above, thanks. Doon
Great stuff says
OK, me again, apparently it threw out my previous comment. As I mentioned Quince in huge in S. Africa & can not imagine a house without it in the 1900. Grew up in South Africa (Freestate) and always ate quince. Going to try the jelly today as my tree was very prolific this year (3yrs. old only) lovely big fruits. I love the quince blossoms in the Spring as well. Goodluck to other quince “discoverers.”
@Jenny – Rod and Vlasta from Denman Island sell apples and quince at the Winter Market at Nat Bailey Stadium. They were there today and had plenty.
Andrea Bellamy says
@Everett – great suggestions, thanks! I’ll try that this year.
@Jenny – as Ingrid mentions below, the farmer’s market at Nat Bailey had tons of them this weekend. I also bought mine from the Denman Island orchard!
@Great Stuff – thanks for your comment. Quince is great stuff ! :)
Kelley Riley says
Just bought some quince at Norman’s Market on Commercial Drive in Vancouver
I can’t quite tell from the first picture, but it looks like you keep the skin on, and eventually this gets ground in and becomes part of the jam, correct?
Thanks for putting this up. It looks like a great recipe and I’ll probably use it to make this year’s batch.
joan jacobs says
Quince was a very old garden plant- maybe even the “apple” offered in the Garden of Eden. They were often planted in a garden as a sign of fertility. Lots of interesting history. From the rose family. Related to pears and apples. They grow well in B.C. at the coast and apparently can be started from new and old wood cuttings. Derry’s orchard and nursery does sell them. I wash the fuzz off the fruit, cut them up , and cook them like apple sauce, then use my apple sauce colander. I put the quince sauce in a pot, add sugar to taste-not too sweet, and cook til I like the thickness, put in hot jars I warm in the oven to 200 degrees, melted wax on top, with canning lids or reused sealable lids. Most of them seal without the hot water canner, and if some don’t, we use those first.