• 16 quince or
  • 12 cups quince sauce
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 TBLS lemon juice

This incredible, uncommon, interesting fruit found its way into my kitchen this week. I grew up with a quince tree behind our house and yet I’d never eaten it. After spending hours and hours processing this batch of jam, I know why my mother never had time for them. Quince are hard, sour and astringent when raw. It’s difficult to know what do with them at first, because you can’t just eat it, like most other raw fruit. They aren’t like apples and pears, which are common and versatile. It takes a lot of time and effort to make jam or membrillo or jelly…but I have decided it was worth it. The end result is something scrumptious.

quince fruit

Reading online stories of quince you will hear that they have a strong scent, something like floral/pear/citrus/vanilla/pineapple. YEP! I agree. The scent is strong, good, and hard to describe. You will also see that the fruit changes colors once cooked. YEP! That happened too. The raw flesh is a pale yellow, but once it gets cooking, it turns darker yellow, then orange, then pinkish salmon. Fun!

Quince fruit originate from the Middle East-Eastern Europe-Western Asia, etc. Specifically Mesopotamia, or present day Armenia. They date way back, thousands of years ago. Wikipedia has some great info about them.  I’ve also picked up this book, Simply Quince, and I’m learning A LOT about the QUINCE, it’s fascinating.

Well, I got a bucket full from  a neighbor and decided to make jam. I cut my quince into fourths, cut out some seeds, but not all, and put into a pot and covered them halfway with filtered water. They hold a lot of natural pectin. After cooking for an hour on Medium heat, everything was soft and mushy. I used my food mill and pureed it all through. What was left of seeds and skins was about 1 cup of compost. In the pot was about 12 cups of quince sauce. I then let it cook down for another several hours on low, steaming away excess liquid. (This could be done faster, at a higher temperature, but I had other things to do). Once it was thickening up a bit, I added 3 TBLs lemon juice (from my frozen stock) and 3 cups of granulated white sugar. You can add more, to your tastes. Then I had to bring it to a boil (which took about 30 minutes). Boil hard for 10 minutes,stirring constantly to avoid burning or sticking to pot’s bottom. Look out for bubbling hot syrupy liquid jumping out of the pot. I really should have made this in a smaller quantity, with a taller pot and longer wooden spoon. I sustained a few minor burns on my hands. :( Hard boiling a fruit sauce is scary work!!

Okay, once it’s thick enough for canning, process in sanitized hot half pint jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Done. Yum!

just cut

cooked down

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