Quince resembles a large, yellow pear. A characteristic common to all varieties is their strong aromatic fragrance, a musky-wild, tropical-like perfume. Astringent and sour, the flesh cannot be eaten raw and requires cooking to be edible. The fruit becomes a rich candy-like paste when slowly cooked and turns a deep apricot color with floral honeyed flavors.
With a high pectin content, quince is ideal for jam, jelly, conserves, and candy. Cook with other fall fruits, such as apples or pears, and reduce into compote, or add to the spiced cake batter. Add cooked quince to ice cream custard. Quince is also used in savory preparations, added to beef and lamb stews, or served, cooked slowly, alongside roasts.
For longer storage, wrap fruit individually in a double layer of plastic; refrigerate.
6 cups quince
4 1/4 cups of water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 cups sugar
- Prepare the quince by washing and cutting it 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.
- Put 4 1/4 cups of water in a large, wide, thick-bottomed saucepan 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 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 turned pink, add a little more water and cook a little longer.)
- Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars and seal. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids.