If you’ve never seen a quince it’s probably because these old fashioned fruits aren’t winning any beauty pageants in your local produce section. A cross between a pear and an apple, quince are green and lumpy with a strange fuzz covering their skin. The taste doesn’t do much to redeem them, as quince are often too sour and fibrous to eat raw. Occasionally though, you will stumble across a basket of quince at a farmers market. You may wander over just to poke and squint at it a bit, and if you get close enough you’ll get a whiff of their exotic scent – a kind of floral pear scent that will make you want to fill up a bag and find something to do with these unsightly fruits. For this reason quince are one of my favorite fruits. Unappealing on the outside, once cooked their white flesh becomes and lovely orange-pink color, their tart flavor lends well to sweeter recipes like jams, jellies and applesauce and they retain their exotic floral smell.
Quince jam is one of my favorite late fall jams. Once cooked it looks stunning in a jar and is a treat both slathered on toast, mixed into oatmeal or spooned into thumbprint cookies. It is also so very easy to make, even for the beginning canner – because quince contain a high amount of pectin you won’t need to add any to this recipe, and three ingredients is all you need to make this lovely jam.
Start out by washing the quince well to remove any of the white fuzz clinging to it’s skin. Peel, core and slice 8 cups (about 4 lbs) of quince and set it aside.
Add 3 cups of sugar to 8 cups of water in a large pot. Bring this to a boil and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved, then add in the sliced quince.
Let this mixture cook over medium high heat until the quince have turned orange/pink and are very soft. At this point I like to mash them up a bit with a potato masher, and continue to cook until the liquid has reached a syrupy consistency. After mashing them be sure to stir often to prevent the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pan. While you are doing this prepare your waterbath canner and jars. This recipe will yield about 4 pints, or 8 jelly jars.
It can take a little while to cook, but you will know it is done when the syrup coats the back of a spoon. My favorite way to test jam is to put just a bit on a plate and stick it in the freezer for a minute. Remove it, and if the jam is the consistency you want you are done!
Now all you need to do is ladle the jam into your sterilized jars and process in a boiling waterbath canner for 15 minutes.
The finished product will be jars full of lovely and delicious jam. They make great gifts, especially since you can’t just go buy this in a store!
Print the recipe below. What’s the most unusual jam you’ve ever had?
- 8 cups (about 4lbs) quince - peeled, cored and sliced
- 8 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- Add 3 cups of sugar to 8 cups of water in a large pot. Bring this to a boil and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved.
- Add sliced quince and cook over medium high heat until the quince have turned orange/pink and are very soft. At this point I like to mash them up a bit with a potato masher, and continue to cook until the liquid has reached a syrupy consistency, stirring frequently to keep the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the syrup can coat the back of a spoon, remove the jam from the heat and ladle into sterilized jars. Process in a waterbath canner for 15 minutes.