This jam is a delicious accompaniment to cheese, and it makes a wonderful glaze for pork, game or chicken. It's also great just on toast with butter! I suppose technically it's a jelly, because it doesn't have pieces of quince in it, but it's not clear like a jelly, so I call it jam ;) Quinces contain a lot of natural pectin, so you don't need to add any. However, you will need to keep checking the set while you cook it - use the cold plate test to do this (instructions below in the recipe). Check the set after the initial 20 minutes of cooking, and then every 5 minutes after that. Do not give up - this jam has to cook for a while. It may take up to 40 minutes for the jam to reach the "set" point, depending on the level of heat you are using. Just keep cooking it down. The jam will turn a reddish-brown color as it cooks.
- 3 lbs apple quinces or 3 lbs pear quinces, to make 6 cups quince juice
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 orange, zest of
- 1 orange, juice of, small
- 1 lemon, zest of
- 1 lemon, juice of, small
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ginger
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon allspice
- 1⁄4 teaspoon clove
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom
- To make the quince juice, wash & wipe off fuzz from quinces, cut off stem & anything remaining at blossom end and cut into eighths. Do not discard the cores or the seeds as they contain a lot of natural pectin. Place in a large pan and cover with water so the pieces float. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally (2 hours will do the trick, but I like to let it simmer for 3, so the fruit is very soft).
- Using a fine sieve, strain the "juice" from the pulp. The "juice" can vary from an actual juice to a thin puree - it depends on if the fruit breaks down or not. Press on the fruit with the back of a large spoon to extract all the juice.If some of the pulp squeezes through the sieve and into the juice that's fine. If you get more than the 6 cups needed for this recipe you can freeze it to use later.
- Place two or three small saucers in the freezer. You will use these later to check the set of the jam.
- In a preserving pan, combine the 6 cups quince juice, juice and zest of the orange and the lemon, spices, & sugar. If you don't have a preserving pan, use the widest pan you have. The wider the pan, the more quickly moisture will evaporate from the mixture, and this is what you want when making jelly or jam.
- Bring to a boil and continue cooking on medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, stirring gently. Check the set - it may take up to 40 minutes of simmering over medium high heat for the jelly/jam to reach the set stage - use the cold plate test to check set: take the pot of jam off the heat (if you don't remove the jam from the heat while you check the set, it could over-cook and become rubbery or hard, if the jam is indeed already set) place a drop of the jam mixture on one of the saucers you've kept in the freezer, & place the plate back in the freezer for 1 minute. After 1 minute, take the saucer out of the freezer and nudge the drop of jam with your finger. If it "wrinkles" when you nudge it with your finger it is done. If the jam is not set, continue cooking over medium-high heat, checking the set again every 5 minutes.
- Once the set point is reached, put the jam into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace; place flat lids and rings on and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.