Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

I have always misunderstood quince. After the magnificent show it puts on in the early spring, it tends to fade into the periphery of a landscape, playing the role of ugly duckling for the remainder of the year. The apple-like fruit may seem tempting in the fall, until a curious nibble proves instantly disagreeable. Rarely are you able to remove it from your landscape without a battle. It's stubborn. Thorny. A borderline menace. Until today.
My neighbors have been diligently landscaping their property, (one similar to ours), full of old-timey plantings in their mature years. The quince on the corner recently received a healthy grooming, and has been winking at me all season, especially as it began dropping its yellow fruit. So, I bit the bullet and asked my neighbor if I could collect some fruit to mess around with. He laughed and kindly told me to take as much as I liked. I filled my hat and came back to the house to look over a few recipes for jam. After reading up, I found that quince used to be in almost every backyard or garden as a hassle free addition to the homemaker's edible landscape. I ended up going back to get more.

The jam turned out to be just lovely; tart and full of that distinct flavor of times long since passed. The taste reminds me of other nearly forgotten pleasures, like sassafras tea and homemade butter. For this gal, quince will never be the same. After our time together in the kitchen, and its beautiful dance on my tongue, I am proud to call it a friend.

Quince Jam:
*about 6 cups shredded quince (including skins), cored and seeds removed
*4 cups water
*juice from 1 lemon
*zest from one lemon
*3 1/2 cups demerara, rapadura or other form of raw cane sugar
*2 tsp high quality vanilla extract (optional)
*2 cardamom pods, grated (optional)

Wash quince and slice lengthwise in half. Cut away any wormy areas. Grate the fruit to the core. Discard core and seeds.

Place water in a large heavy pot. Bring to a boil. Add the grated quince, lemon juice and zest. Reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes.
Return to a boil and add sugar. Stir. Cook over med-low heat for about 40 minutes. Add the vanilla and cardamom during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Ladle hot jam into sterilized jam jars and fit with sterilized lids. You can skip this process and pack jam in clean jars and store in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Comment by Christine on October 18, 2010 at 11:10am
Thank you, I never even knew what quince was! Now I'm intrigued...


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