Today I’m making Quince Preserve. Now that the weather is cooling, there’s nothing better to start the day than slow-brewed Earl Grey, warm toast and glistening strands of sweet deliciousness. The flesh of this fruit is white, but once it cooks, its sugars caramelize and it changes to the most beautiful deep salmon orange.
My grandmother Wilhelmine added a bit of carrot to intensify the color, but that’s not necessary. Quince just needs some sugar and cloves to achieve longevity.
If you’ve been to the market recently, you’ve probably walked right past quince in the produce section, dismissing it as a weird-looking yellow apple. It’s a Fall favorite among Armenians & Iranians.
The tree can live for hundreds of years. The figure of an apple, the texture of a pear, there are different varieties of this odd little fruit. The Isfahan quince in Iran has an intoxicating perfume, while California’s Pineapple variety has a meaty texture.
It’s often picked before it ripens, so I wouldn’t try to sink my teeth into one (although your dentist might be happy to see you). Quince packs a punch of flavor sautéed as a side for something boring like chicken or pork, but I like it best for breakfast as a jam with toast and butter.
Next time you’re out, grab a couple of quince. Cook up a batch and jar them for a jump start on Christmas. They’ll be the most special gifts this holiday season.
Makes: 40 oz (4 cups)
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 1-2 hrs
4 cups shredded quince (5 medium quince)
1 carrot, shredded
3 cups sugar
1 lemon, juice only
8-10 whole cloves
1 cup water
Wash, peel and core the quince.
Cut into big chunks and shred. If you have a food processor, use it.
Peel and shred the carrot.
Toss the fruit into a big pot.
Add sugar, lemon juice, cloves and water.
Cook on very low heat 1-2 hrs.
When the quince turns a salmon orange color, it’s ready.
Cool and store in clean jars.