The Fresh Quince Conundrum: to jam or not to jam?

Quince Tree

Quince Tree

I was excited to learn my parents had a quince tree on their farm as I had read a lot about the unique flavour of quince jam.   I thought I would love quince, but after making jam with it I have a rather different feeling.  I am definitely not a quince fan. This strange disformed fruit can not even be eaten raw as it is so very sour and astringent.  Quince has a rock hard inner core that is near impossible to remove.  It took me FOREVER to peel, cut, and core these quinces and the jam then took incredibly long to cook (days in actuality).  OK, I have finished my quince rant.  The redeeming quality of this curious fruit is it’s amazing fragrance while cooking.  It emits a beautiful deep fruity rose scent that could easily be bottled as a lovely perfume.  If you can remain extremely patient throughout the preparation process, you will eventually be rewarded with a most unique tasting jam that has a pleasantly delicate rose flavour.  However, I don’t see myself working with this fruit again anytime soon and that is not a quince-idence.

Quince Harvest

Quince Harvest

Ingredients

5 pounds quince

7 cups water

4 tablespoons lemon juice

lemon zest from 2 lemons

4 cups sugar

1/2 cup honey

2 cinnamon sticks

2 vanilla beans

2 teaspoons rose water

Quince Jam Ingredients

Quince Jam Ingredients

Quince Jam Ingredients

Quince Jam Ingredients

Wash the quince extremely well – remove fuzzy layer

Peel and core fruit (keep peels and core and bundle into cheesecloth – I used a turkey stuffing bag-which worked really well)

You need the peels and core for the pectin, so the jam sets naturally

Quince Peel

Quince Peel

Add water and lemon juice to a large pot

Fruit is SO hard to cut, I found it was easier if fruit was cut into smaller pieces then I removed the core. DON’T try to remove core like you would an apple – or you will become frustrated like me.

Cutting Quince

Cutting Quince

Cut into small cubes and add to lemon water

Cutting Quince

Cutting Quince

Add cheesecloth bundle, and balance ingredients (except rose water) to quince-water-lemon mixture

Diced Quince

Diced Quince

Simmer on medium-low heat for 2-3 hours

Quince is ready when flesh is soft and colour has changed to a rosy orange colour

Roxy colour Quince

Rosy colour Quince

Allow the quince to cool to room temperature or let sit overnight ( I let mine sit on stove with cover overnight)

Remove cinnamon sticks/vanilla beans/cheesecloth bundle – and set aside

Using a hand blender or food processor blend the fruit and liquid until texture is creamy

Quince Puree

Quince Puree

Add puree back to pot and add the cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, and cheesecloth bundle back to pot

Taste to see if you would like to add more sugar or honey

Simmer for 2-3 hours until thick consistency or until jam reaches 220 on thermometer

Add rose water and mix thoroughly

If you need more information on proper health procedures for canning – please review Home Canning

Sterilize jars and lids and prepare canner

Pour jam into sterilized jars and wipe rims

Funnel for Jam

Funnel for Jam

Filled Jar

Filled Jar

Ensure all jars are fully covered with water and boil for 10 minutes

Remove canner lid and let jars sit in canner for 5min

Remove jars and sit on cloth and let rest for 24hours

Quince Jam

Quince Jam

Check Jars after 24 hours to ensure seal is intact

Quince Jam

Quince Jam

Well it is a beautiful colour and it did taste pretty good with cheese.  Stay tuned for quince and cheese post.

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