When I was growing up, my family would receive a package from my father's uncle in California every Christmas. Inside would be a few Ball jars filled with quince jam, homemade from the quince tree in his yard. I never had quince in any other form or from any other source, so I thought it was some exotic treasure from all the way across the country.
So imagine my surprise when I found local quince at Westward Orchards while doing some food exploration back in November with Lily Von Schtoop. I scooped some up, having no idea how to cook them. Luckily, I found this simple quince jam recipe from Simply Recipes and, with a few small changes, was able to produce about 3 half-pint jars worth of delicious quince jam, two of which went into my mother's Christmas stocking (the third is sitting in my own fridge - can't give away all the goods!).
Quick Quince Jam
3 cups water
2 quince, rinsed and grated (discard hard core and seeds, but leave the skin on)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste
In a medium pot over high heat, bring water to a boil. Add quince, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and then reduce heat and simmer until quince is soft (about 10 minutes). Stir in the sugar and vanilla and bring back to a boil. Once all the sugar has dissolved, reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches jam-like consistency (about 40-50 minutes).
Place 3 clean and dry half-pint canning jars (without lids) in the oven at 200° for 10 minutes to sterilize. Carefully ladle jam into jars (I found that a funnel was very helpful in avoiding getting jam all over the edges). Submerge the tops of the jars in water in a large pot, and bring water to a boil. Carefully remove tops from the pot, dry, and seal jars.