Easy-peasy quince jam

Kaya and I got sick last week, and it took me until just about now to feel like an actual human again. (Luckily things went a bit faster for Kaya.) It wasn’t anything serious, just a cold/cough double whammy, but it was compounded by lack of sleep and left me feeling like anything I touched would be instantly and irreversibly contaminated. Thus, I was a little while in making that quince jam that I mentioned a while back. (I did eat a fair amount of quince fresh, though, and that was nice.)
With my gumption restored, I set myself to the task and I bring you, without further ado (but sadly not many photos since I had to wait until the boys were asleep at night to do the bulk of the work), my mother-in-law’s completely foolproof quince jam:

As you can see, a cast of thousands is not required.

1 kg. quince (this is the weight of the grated fruit, not the whole fruit)
I lemon
1 kg. sugar
10 cloves
1/4 c. water

(If you are not a kitchen scale type, I did measure out the sugar and the quince, and it works out to be about 4 1/2 cups of sugar and 8 cups of quince. However, I would make it 5 cups of sugar to 10 cups of quince because it’s never good to have jam that is overly sweet. )

1. Wash the fuzz off your quince, if it still has it (I’ve noticed that the quince at the market has already been divested).

2. Squeeze the lemon and pour the juice into the pressure cooker and dump the sugar in there as well.

3. Grate the quince on a box grater or in a food processor, and weigh it as you go along. (I do not peel beforehand, but you can if you prefer.) Save the cores! I grate in batches, weigh, and add to the pot and mix it with the sugar. This is because I hate to watch all that grated quince turn brown. Let me hasten to add, however, that browned quince turns into handsome jam for reasons that will become clear. So there is no need to go crazy unless, like me, you already are.

4. Once you’ve got a kilo of grated quince, go ahead and grate a few more for good measure, if you have them, and add them to the pot for good luck.

5. Gather up your quince cores and break them in half to reveal the seeds. Collect any seeds that are not buggy or moldy and tie them in a square of cheesecloth. (I could not find my cheesecloth so I ended up emptying a teabag. This also works. You just don’t want free-range seeds.) The seeds are crucial to the color of the jam. Without them, you get a wan, yellowy jam. The seeds give your jam a rich carnelian color.

5. In another square of cheesecloth, tie up the cloves and throw that in the pot.

6. Add the water.

7. Close your pressure cooker up and bring it to high pressure over medium high heat. Turn the heat down and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

8. Enjoy the sweet perfume of quince that fills your kitchen, like lemongrass and rose.

9. Bring the pressure right down after the 10 minutes and open the cooker.

What you see will most likely be discouragingly runny and not rich carnelian. Do not despair. Leave the jam alone for a while with its seeds (say, overnight or three hours even) and when you come back to it and give it a stir you will find that it is very thick indeed, and red like hot lava.

See the seeds in there? See the color?

10. Fish out your seeds and cloves and bring the jam back up to a boil to get it nice and hot for packing. Then scoop it into sterilized jars. If you like, you can toss a clove or two into each jar. I ended up with 5 jars but the photo I took of them was ugly.

And that’s it! I love this jam because it is so easy and it always sets. I have made a lot of runny jam and even though people are kind enough to say things like, “Oh, it will be great with pancakes!” I find it pretty depressing. This is jam that you can slice like bread. Every. Time.

19 thoughts on “Easy-peasy quince jam

  1. I am not at all familiar with quince jam, though I’ve seen quite a bit of quince at the markets this Fall. I’ve declared canning season over, so, my quince experimenting will have to be put off for 12 months. I have no place to store all that ‘ve already done! 🙂
    I hope you are all on the mend now. It’s terrible when a cold or flu enters a home and takes up residence, infecting each member before it moves on. As the Mom, you’re lucky to get a moment’s rest.

  2. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been unwell. It does sound like it was hard to get over. I love quince jam and this is a lovely recipe with just the main cast involved – what wonderful flavour this must have xx

  3. I tried making quince jelly once and ended up with quince syrup. That tasted more like simple syrup. Now I see where I went wrong. I didn’t grate my fruit (just chopped it) and didn’t think to throw in the core! Doh!

    Thanks for the primer! When I see quinces again, I will make jam!

    1. I am always really discouraged by jam that doesn’t go well. I have made lots and lots of runny jams and no matter how I look at them they seem like flops to me. This one hasn’t failed me yet, though.

      1. It would make sense, but I haven’t. I did see an article in the NYT food section for apple and pear butter with cardamom that I am seriously tempted to make, though. It’s got brandy in it. Mmmmm… Sounds good and autumnal, right?

  4. I love quinces – and the different varieties have such different flavours, don’t they? I just chop the big quinces in half, throw the little ones in whole, cook, then take out the seeds and cores – or just push through a sieve. Your jam looks great!

      1. So much easier to cook them first, they are so very hard, aren’t they and then go lovely and squishy! I do the same when I’m making marmalade, cook the whole oranges and then take out the flesh, take out the pith and pips and chop the now soft skin! Easy-peasy! Or should I say easy-orangey!

  5. Betty Kozanecki

    Thanks for your recipe and hints about the seeds. I am making this jam in Sydney Australia, this is what I love about the internet!!!

    1. Me too! We are months away from quince season here. I look longingly at southern hemisphere blogs all winter, too, though, so I guess the grass really is always greener. I hope your jam turned out well.

    1. Didn’t see this comment until now but for future reference I always think of pressure cooker as cooing approximately three times as fast as an open pot, so I’d try cooking it for 30 minutes and see how it looks to you. Sorry for the late reply, and thanks for stopping by!

  6. Erica Moody

    Excellent recipe! Thank you.
    Although I did adapt it! I cut up the quinces and cored them, saving the cores to cook with the fruit as you recommend.Interestingly the seeds were nearly non-existent, very tiny. I omitted the cloves, and cooked just the fruit and water together under pressure. Then i added the sugar, brought it up to the boil, and then took it off the heat and left it just a few hours.It was already thick when I reheated it but i gave it 5 mins of boiling before potting.
    If I could get a lot more quince I might try the recipe as written!

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