- 4 pounds fresh quince, or enough fruit to make 4 cups juice
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- Wash canning jars, lids, and rings in warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Set aside in hot water until ready to use.
- Peel and core quince, and cut flesh into small pieces. Place fruit in a large stainless-steel pot, and almost cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, covering the pot with a vented or tilted lid. Cook for about 2 hours, or until quince is tender.
- Place fruit in a jelly bag, tie the bag to a long-handled spoon, and place the spoon across the rim of a stainless-steel pot. Drain overnight.
- The following day, remove 4 cups of juice from the pot. (If there’s extra juice, stir in honey and drink, if you’d like.) In a large stainless-steel pot, mix together quince juice and optional lemon juice, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Stir in sugar and return to a rolling boil. Cook, uncovered and stirring as needed, for 10 to 15 minutes. Jam is done when a candy thermometer reads 220 F at sea level, or when a metal spoon is dipped into the pot, turned on its side, and two drops come together to form a sheet off the edge of the spoon.
- Remove pot from heat. Skim off foam bubbles with a metal ladle, if desired.
- Ladle jam mixture into glass canning jars, reserving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims clean with a dry cloth. Place canning lids on top of jars and secure with screw-on rings. Process the filled jars in a water-bath or steam canner for 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove jars from canner with tongs, and set on folded towels on a countertop to cool thoroughly. After 24 hours, check lids to make sure they’ve sealed. Remove rings from sealed jars. Immediately refrigerate any unsealed jars.
The “golden apple” of ancient mythology, quince has a bright-yellow, fuzzy skin and off-white flesh. Remarkably, it produces a pretty pink jelly, and with the addition of lemon juice, the jelly turns red! No commercial pectin is required for this recipe, because quince is naturally rich in the starch.
Note that foam can form on top of jams and jellies in the cooking pot, and is traditionally removed for aesthetic reasons. If you don’t skim it, the foam will re-form again inside the canning jars and lessen the colorful impact of your finished product.
Jam and Jelly Pairings
Here are a few of my other favorite jam and jelly recipes, paired with some of the baked goods that show them off to great advantage. Feel free to come up with your own combinations, based on your personal preferences.
- Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Quince Jelly
- Teatime Muffins with Blue-Barb Jam
- Spiced Cake with Jam with Black Raspberry Jam
Leah Smith is a freelance writer and gardener. She works on her family’s Michigan farm, Nodding Thistle, where they produce and preserve much of their own food. Contact her at NoddingThistle@gmail.com.