Try these two methods for putting up this tart fall fruit.
The quince is originally from the Caucasus, where it still grows wild today, and made its journey westwards across to the Mediterranean regions of Europe. It has the most beautiful little flowers when it blossoms in the spring, and the fruit is in season in October.
It is particularly popular in jams and jellies due to its high levels of pectin, and has become very popular again over the last decade. In Danish, it is called kvæde and often gets dried and mixed in tea. Here I combine it with plum and serve it on my yogurt or porridge in the mornings, but also with cheese in the evening, or with roast duck.
Quince, Two Ways: Jam & Purée
FOR QUINCE-PLUM JAM
- 10 green cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 3 lb 5oz quinces peeled and cored
- 8½ cups water
- 3¾ cups light cane sugar
- Finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
- 1 lb 12oz plums stoned
FOR QUINCE PURÉE
- 2 lb 3oz quinces peeled and cored
- 8½ cups water
- 2½ cups light cane sugar
- Grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
To Make Quince-Plum Jam
- Place all the spices in a square of muslin and tie to secure with string.
- Place the quinces, water, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a large saucepan with the spice bag, and bring to a boil. Cover and let it simmer until the quinces are al dente (test with a small, sharp knife).
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the quinces and plums from the liquid and leave to cool.
- Reduce the liquid in the pan to 750ml / 3½ cups.
- Remove and discard the spices.
- Chop the cooled quinces and plums into smaller pieces. Add the quinces to the boiling reduced syrup and boil for 1 minute, then add the plums and bring back to a boil for 1 minute.
- Pour the hot jam into warmed, sterilized jars and seal. It will keep for months stored in a cold place.
To Make Quince Purée
- Place the quinces in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil then cover and let them simmer until very tender when pierced with a small, sharp knife.
- Remove the quinces from the water, weigh them and calculate the sugar quantity (see above).
- Transfer the quinces to a food processor and blend to a purée.
- Place the purée in a heavy-based saucepan and add the sugar, lemon zest and juice. Let them boil over a low heat, stirring constantly or it can easily burn, until the mixture thickens into a jam.
- Pour the purée into warmed, sterilized jars and seal.