Quince Jelly

For those who don’t know the quince, it’s a beautiful plump yellow fruit which shape might be described as something between a pear and an apple. The taste however has got nothing in common. The quince has a wonderful honey-like aroma and contains a lot of pectin, hence it’s perfect transformed into jelly. When unripe, the quince has greyish soft hair covering the skin. Raw quince has a very tart unpleasant taste and shows its gustative qualities only when cooked or preserved.

I made my first quince jelly last year, when I was offered tons of fruit from my family. This year, however, I was sure I had missed the quince season…  Then, last Saturday, I finally managed a trip to my market and was simply euphoric at the sight of what was probably my last chance of the year. Since the fruits were particularly big, ripe and beautiful, I have taken practically all those which weren’t too much bruised or rotten.

Even though all you need is quince and caster sugar, the jelly is not easy to make. The whole process seems simple, but getting the right consistency is difficult and irritating. Mine were very ripe, so they had less pectin and reaching the right jelly consistency was longer. On the other hand, since these were the ripest quinces I have ever had, the smell and the red brick colour were pure magic…

The yield is very low, but the good news is the fruit used in making the jelly can be transformed too! More news tomorrow!

Preparation: 2 hours


at least 2 kg quince (the yield is very low, I obtained two small jars out of two kg quince)

white sugar

Wash the quince, scraping the soft hair and cutting off the stems. Cut them rougly in four or more pieces and put them in a big shallow pan (together with the pits, since they contain lots of pectin).

Pour a litre of water, cover the pan and cook it at medium heat until the fruit is well cooked and almost falls into pieces.

Strain the juice. Weigh it and add to it the same weight of sugar (it is also possible, if the quince is very ripe, to put half of the sugar, thus obtaining a slightly tangy jelly).

(Don’t throw away the cooked fruit! Store it in a cool place until the following day. More advice tomorrow!)

Put a small plate in the the coldest part of the fridge.

Start cooking on a medium heat, stirring from time to time.

After 30 minutes make a first test of the jelly consistency.  Take the small plate out of the fridge, pour a small drop of the jelly and move the plate.

If the drop stays in place and doesn’t flow, the consistency is right.

Test the consistency every ten minutes and don’t overcook the jelly. Overcooked it takes a burnt caramel taste.

/At this point you can either freeze it (after the jelly has cooled down) or keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or process it in the jars, as described below, and store it in your pantry for at least a year!/

Pour the jelly, still hot, into sterilised jars. Cover with lids. Leave the jars to cool.

Place the cool jars in a big pan, bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling – water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 20 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the jelly and don’t forget to mark the date.

Tomorrow I’ll explain what to do with the leftover cooked fruit…

6 Replies to “Quince Jelly”

    1. Thank you, A_Boleyn. Well, all you need is fruit, sugar and recycled jars but with good – not rusty – lids and you are ready to can any sweet fruit preserve. This jelly is not the easiest thing to start as a beginning canner. Not as easy as a jam for example. It may also be quite expensive (the yield is very low), but the “leftover” quince jam is quite good too.

  1. I bought supplies to can with … a box of dozen small jars with regular mouths and another with half dozen larger wide-mouth jars. I even have a box each of replacement lids so I could get good seals when the time came to reuse the jars. But other than making a batch of mixed citrus curds (3 jars of 1 cup each) I haven’t actually canned anything. Right now I’m using the small jars for my herbs and spices.

    I bought a small jar of the quince jam (imported from the middle east) and though it wasn’t cheap, for someone like me who rarely puts jam on toast, it wasn’t TOO bad. In fact, the jar had been in my fridge for so long that I ended up making that apple and quince tart that you commented on with all but one last tablespoon or so. 🙂


    Maybe one day.

    1. So this is the only point where I’m more thrifty than you 😉 I very rarely buy jars or lids. First I started to collect or the recycled jars I bought and the lids if they were not rusty and closed well. Then I asked my family and friends to collect them for me. Finally I had so many jars, I asked only for lids, which often have to be thrown away after one canning (especially when canning with vinegar). Then finally I have so many recycled jars and lids to be used, I stopped taking from other people.
      Beware! Once you start preserving, you will be hooked! (Though if you plan only short-term fridge preserves, there is no danger because of more restricted space and time). Thank you for the link. I have forgotten about this tart.

  2. Oops … just realized that I posted my reply to your comment in the post for the cucumber with stir fried chicken and cashew. Sorry. 🙂

    Anyway … I bought REAL canning jars with the 2 part screw on lids where the flat part with the rubber gasket is heat sealed and shouldn’t be reused, because I only HAD two recycled canning jars. One was a widemouth jar that didn’t have the flat part of the lid which seals the top, just the metal part that screws on. It holds about 3 cups. The regular mouth sized one was gifted to my mom filled with canned cherries and holds about 4-5 cups.

    So, I decided to stock up with new jars in the small sizes that I thought I would actually be able to use.

    1. No problem, I’ve deleted it.
      Maybe in Canada these are considered “real” canning jars, but here (if I count well, in four countries from where I had a pleasure to eat home preserved stuff), I have never seen any regular preserver using them (I think I saw them first time in my life a couple of years ago in a shop). Most people use the most popular “twist” jars and some like to use (for pickles) heavy glass jars with a glass lid where you change the rubber part, but I find them difficult to use & open and they are expensive (though they do look cute, especially with pickles!).
      I agree about big jars. I use these only for whole vinegared cucumbers or if I intend to give it to someone in my family who empties the jar quickly. I prefer the smallest jars possible (especially with all the sauces and hot jellies I make).
      Anyway, good luck with preserving, though the season is still a bit far away.

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