in autumn, making quince jelly

by Sharon Santoni
It is a shame that this blog  doesn’t have a ‘smell’ button I could attach to this post!
I am making quince jelly, and the whole house is perfumed with their delicate flower-like flavour.
Quince is a large, rock hard, chunky sort of fruit, tasteless raw, yet when it is cooked it shares all sorts of secrets, and its jelly turns a beautiful deep pink colour.
It takes ages to make, but still has to be one of my favourite jellies to spread on bread,
or use in  tarts with other fruit.Here is the recipe, but believe me , this jelly is quite hard work!!

For about 3 lbs or 1.5kg of quinces.

Wash the quinces well and cut away any pieces that are damaged or discoloured.
Cut the rest of the fruit into cubes, don’t worry about  peeling or taking out the core.

Thrown into a big preserving pan with 1/2 litre (1 pint) of water.

Cook for 60-90 minutes until well tender.

Find a way to let the fruit drain overnight.
I have a rather ‘heath-robinson’ affair with a stool turned upside down,
and a muslin strung over a big mixing bowl to catch the juice.

The next day measure out how much liqud has come from the fruit pulp.
Resist the temptation to squeeze the muslin too hard, if you want a very clear jelly.

For each half litre (1 pint) of juice, you can add 350 grammes (12 ounces) of sugar.
Heat gently and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Quinces contain a lot of pectin,
so there isn’t usually a trouble with this jelly setting.
The best way to test for setting is on a plate kept cold in the fridge.

When setting point is reached, pour into jars and … admire!

And if you love the flavour and hate to see the fruit pulp wasted, you could always make quince jelly squares, quite yummy with cheese!

After extracting the juice for your jelly, push the remaining soft fruit through a sieve, and mix equal weight of sugar to the sieved fruit paste.  Cook until thick enough to ‘write’ in with a wooden spoon and turn out onto a greaseproof paper lined baking tray.

Let it rest for 24 hours then cut into squares,

Wishing you all a happy autumnal weekend.


Kris Vogelsang October 20, 2012 - 2:02 pm

What? No recipe? Please do share…

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest October 20, 2012 - 2:06 pm

I have never had that fruit jelly before – wonder where one could buy it – would love to try and adore the colour – perfect for Pink Saturday link party at How Sweet The Sound!

The picture of the two pcs of fruit together could be a beautiful print for the wall- it's gorgeous.

Silvana October 20, 2012 - 2:10 pm

I vote for a smell bottom!

Yvonne @ StoneGable October 20, 2012 - 2:16 pm

Quince is a delicious jelly! Your pictures are scrumptious!

sharon santoni at my french country home October 20, 2012 - 2:38 pm

Ok girls, I listened to you, I have now added the recipe! Happy cooking!

sheepyhollow October 20, 2012 - 2:50 pm

I don't believe I've ever tasted quince jelly! I must research its culture & availability locally. It looks delish!

david terry October 20, 2012 - 3:03 pm

Oh, as I wrote earlier, my French mother-in-law has been visiting here for 3 weeks. A neighbor gave me a full bushel of pears (the old-fashioned HARD kind) from his orchard, and we spent a good four days making preserves. The MIL (who does indeed know her cooking) kept calling for quinces. When I tried telling her that Americans simply and completely stopped, as far as I can tell, even growing (much less using) quince about fifty years ago, she wouldn't believe me…..went trotting around to our two grocery stores, fuitlely asking for them. Of course, there were none to be had. I doubt that many Americans would even recognize the name "Quince", unless they were in high skool and had just finished reading "a Midsummer Night's Dream".

It's odd…I grew up with an entire, old hedge of them on our property, but I don't think I've seen a newly-planted bush in years and years (which is sad; it's one of the prettiest very-early-spring flowering bushes that I know of). My good guess is that Americans don't like the thorns, or the bush's habit of losing all its leaves in the hot/dry summer….and there are probably about three folks in this entire Fast-Food-Nation who have the patience to deal with Quinces.

I happen to be one of them, but the quince bush I planted about seven years ago was cut down to the ground last year by an over-zealous yardman who afterwards & happily explained to me that he'd cut down "that dead bush by the back fence".It had, of course, merely dropped its leaves in the July heatwave.

My unstoppable mother-in-law, bless her heart, left last week, but not before telling me that she'd be making quince preserves (I love them) and would save some jars for my Christmas visit to Tours. So, I'll have some quince preserves this Winter, but it's disheartening/irritating to find (as I recently have) that I can't find a single nursery-catalogue selling quince bushes.

Once again and as-ever, Sharon?…….you seem to be a lucky girl when it comes to your garden.

Level Best as Ever,

David Terry

David September 6, 2014 - 6:29 am


Vicky from Athens November 1, 2016 - 2:08 pm

David – I found quinces yesterday at my local Kroger! They weren’t very large – about the size of my fist – but I do plan to buy some and give Sharon’s recipe a whirl! My grandmother made quince jelly and I can’t wait to relive that old familiar experience of standing beside her as she poured it in to jars.

BackwoodsCottage Pam October 20, 2012 - 3:52 pm

My grandmother prized her Quince tree. She lived on 2 acres in the San Joaquin Valley of California (where you can grow anything, literally). She had all sorts of fruit trees but the Quince was her favorite and she made the best Quince jelly. She has since passed on from this world but your mentioning Quince jelly brought back the fond memories of helping her can some of the best preserves ever. I wonder if the person that bought her house kept that tree. I will have to drive by one day soon and see.

Babs October 20, 2012 - 3:57 pm

There's nothing better than homemade jelly or jam and your quince is a gorgeous color,(the jelly and fruit) I know what you mean about jelly taking ages to make…it's definitely a "labor of love" Enjoy and have a great weekend,

Linda Perry October 20, 2012 - 4:19 pm

We just returned from Spain and at a breakfast buffet by the cheeses there were 1" squares of "something". I'll try almost anything so I took one.Since then I've seen two references to quince paste so now I know what I ate!

Stacey Snacks October 20, 2012 - 4:27 pm

Yay! A recipe! (bogger!). I haven't used quince yet, thank you for the push.
Bon Weekend! xo

Nancy October 20, 2012 - 5:06 pm

Looks wonderful! I've heard of quince jelly as well, but have never had it. What does the flavor resemble? Thanks for posting! Blessins, Nancy at

Pamela October 20, 2012 - 5:43 pm

My husband is Persian, I've learned to cook a Persian dish, fragrant stew with quinces which is served over rice. It is truly delicious. Whenever I am fortunate enough to find fresh quince in our grocery I make this. And every time I buy the quince the check out person inevitably asks what they are and what I plan to do with them. I live in NY state and find them pretty easily when they are in season. Quinces are very pricey though.

DonDeHogar October 20, 2012 - 6:14 pm

Quinces are one of my most "waited for" fruits after Easter (our autumn). I loooove them in jelly, compotes ( or in "dulce de membrillo" (similar to your squares) as dessert served with some cheese or as a filling in a pie known as pastafrola.

Susan @ Afford Your Passions October 20, 2012 - 7:21 pm

I've never seen a quince before (although I've heard of it) – the jam looks yummy!

The Magical Christmas Wreath Company October 20, 2012 - 8:54 pm

Wow, one of favourites to accompany a nice salty hard cheese and some torn rustic bread, pass the jelly please!

Alicia October 20, 2012 - 9:10 pm


Today's Treasure by Jen October 20, 2012 - 10:12 pm

What a labor of love… I had no idea it was so labor intensive, that makes your quince jelly even more special. I carry a French quince confit at the shop but it is not very well known here in the states. But, once people try it the are hooked! I love it paired with manchego cheese. Thanks for sharing your recipe! XO~Jen
P.S. Loving David Terry today!!!

bee bon October 20, 2012 - 11:45 pm

Sharon your jelly looks wonderful, you're right about the making of it, it's a labour of love!
My first attempt at making quince jelly was compromised as I couldn't find a jelly bag so I cut off the leg from a pair of tights, poured in the fruit, knotted the top and hung it over the jam pan with a meat hook and left it overnight to strain!
I've blogged a few recipes with quince and my friend Coty Farquhar did a great table scape shoot in my garden, I made quince muffins and a jelly and I learned a lot that day from Coty.

Penny October 20, 2012 - 11:52 pm

I love quince paste which we make. I introduced a Californian friend to stewed quinces when she stayed with us. When she returned home she searched for them and wrote with delight that she had found some.

SusieQ25 October 21, 2012 - 3:01 am

They are quite popular in Australia, all sorts of recipes abound and they are available in winter. My favourite is quince paste with cheese and biscuits.

Vicki October 21, 2012 - 7:53 am

I'd forgotten the quince. My elderly auntie would make quince jelly when I was a child, many moons ago. I do remember the pretty color and the nice taste. You've connected the dots for me, actual look of the fruit itself to finished product. I think you're very ambitious in the kitchen!

Vintage Finds October 21, 2012 - 8:03 am

Love quinces. Harder to find here as they aren't that popular – probably given the extensive cooking time!! Sounds delish and worth the effort though – will give this jelly a try!

Vicki October 21, 2012 - 9:22 am

Much talk of this quince paste paired with cheese is making me salivate; I think I can see how that would work, as the cheese would cut some of the intense sweetness of the quince. My only memory about the jelly is slathering its delicious, clear, sugary-fruity and pinkish gorgeousness onto a homemade, fluffy, high-carb, heavily-buttered, buttermilk biscuit…ah, those were the days. (Nobody could make a mile-high biscuit like my Southern auntie, dredged in bacon grease for a nice crust…in long-gone days when there was no thought of calorie intake, high cholesterol or clogged arteries to the heart. I'm just now prompted to remember, besides her quince…the cherry tree. It was on the property line, and she would actually get in a row over it with the neighbor about equal share at cherry-picking time. Raw off the tree or cooked in a pie or as jam, those cherries were swoon-worthy Heaven on the palate.)

Ladies in my family from days gone past made an art of growing their own food, then canning/preserving it for the family, and it was indeed a lot of hard work with cleaning, sorting, trimming, plus the sterilizing of the containers and the sometimes-use of paraffin wax as a sealer. My mom did plenty of it herself, as she came from a long line of grocers going as far back as her Dutch grandfather in turn-of-the-last century, c. 1900 New York, and both she AND her mom had to deal, at the end of the selling day, with too-ripe and unsold fruits and vegetables, where waste was taboo and everything was used. I can remember my mother standing over a steaming vat of strawberries at midnight when she was about ready to drop from exhaustion on a hot summer night.

I have a very old, old cookbook of my grandmother's with lots of old-time recipes using fruits or veggies that aren't so common anymore. Many pies; they seemed to eat a lot of pie and cobblers…there again, bounty from the garden. Things with pomegranates…her handwritten recipe card for persimmon pudding. I live in a cottage previously owned for more than half a century by another great-aunt of mine who lived to be nearly 100 and, when I was a kid, her rear property and hillside was scattered with walnut, fig, loquat, nectarine, kumquat, plum, apricot, peach, lemon, orange, grapefruit, tangerine. It's all gone now, save a hollyhock which appears every year…and a very prolific Fuerte avocado tree which is taller than my roof. I was only thinking of planting a jacaranda tree before autumn disappears; maybe it's time to pair it with (no pun intended) a pear or, better, a quince tree! A good nursery owner should be able to find one.

I had a chuckle over David Terry's decimated quince bush/hedge/tree. My husband gets hyper-stimulated over yard trimming; Edward Scissorhands gone wild. The first home we bought was an old one, with sixteen mature fruit trees, including an apple tree. Apple trees in my neck 'o the woods aren't too common but this tree was heavily-laden with apples come harvest time. I have a photo from when we picked, and there are buckets and buckets of lovely, big, fat, blushing, GLORIOUS apples. Yes, he decided to trim the tree afterward. Needless to say, we never got another yield on that poor, shocked tree.

Vicki October 21, 2012 - 9:46 am

Sharon, I don't mean again to hog the blog with comments but your posts in these past days have been so interesting and varied, prompting so many intriguing responses from your readers. I'm really enjoying it. I learn a lot from your site! I still can't get over your ledger find, and David Terry's remarks about his own. Really fascinating stuff.

Rosita Vargas October 21, 2012 - 3:35 pm

Con mucha tecnología y ya es hora que podamos sentir los olores y perfumes de los ricos alimentos sobretodo del membrillo que es mi fruta preferida,abrazos hugs,hugs.

Vicki October 21, 2012 - 9:00 pm

Coincidentally, a WebMD recipe appeared in my email box, using quince paste in a apple galette. I tried to print it here but it was apparently too many characters. There was, however, a good "tip" at the end, helpful to those of us (me!) who were maybe clueless about quince paste, should we be unlikely (intimidated!) to make it at home.

It said, "After the rectangular galette emerges from the oven with its filling of sliced apples, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and allspice, it cools just until you won’t burn your fingertips. Then, you carefully slip tiny pieces of sweet, deep, rose-colored quince paste between the apple slices. The quince paste not only adds color, but a brighter, more complex autumn flavor to this wonderful, rustic dessert."

So, here's the tip: "If you can't find quince paste near jarred jam and marmalade products, look for it in the cheese section of your grocery store."

I keep thinking, "How could I have missed seeing this in the past?!!"

Elizabeth Eiffel October 21, 2012 - 10:02 pm

One of my favourite jellies and the paste is a must have with cheese. I also love this fruit stewed (poached) with free cream or vanilla ice-cream. We planted 3 young quince trees last year on our 12 acres in the country, but due to our sojourn in France and work commitments we haven't been back to the farm to see if they survived the winter and the kangaroos. Bonne semaine.

Priscilla October 22, 2012 - 5:32 pm

Your photos bring back lovely memories of my French grandmother who used to make quince jelly. Thank you

Anonymous October 28, 2012 - 10:39 pm

Hello There have just made the jelly, it was a little runny, so my mum suggested that I use the pectin, which seemed to help, ( i thnk i may have had too many quinces in the receipe. live and learn I guess, but now I am trying to make your paste, its taking ages to turn red, I have googled many other forums and some have put into the crock pot, would this help ? or shall I just put the dark orange in the ramikins and will it turn red overnight ? …..any help is greatly appreciated… Thank you Paula.

Anonymous November 5, 2012 - 1:54 am

thanks for sharing.

Anonymous June 29, 2013 - 9:19 am

Great recipes! Where in this world can one find Quinces? They used to be abundant but are now completely unavailable. I have tried everywhere with no success! Will somebody please direct me as to where I may find them?

Anonymous October 3, 2013 - 4:14 pm

I've just learned that quince seeds are poisonous! Are you all alive there? I love this no- fuss recipe but what about the core?!

Anonymous October 19, 2013 - 10:12 pm

I am Following your lovely recipe, but seems like water is not enough as 1/2L does only cover one third of the fruits. Could that be right?? Or should it cover all!????

John in Hertfordshire October 20, 2013 - 1:26 pm

I've just bought two quinces from my local farm shop (Botany Bay, near Potters Bar, North of London) along with two, on-the-bone, pork chops that are an inch thick! (yum)
I am as I type, simmering the quinces to make jelly to go with tem this evening. So many comments along the lines of, 'too long to cook'. Why do people no longer enjoy the cooking experience?
Will be making the slice out of left over pulp, that looks as if it would be fantastic with strong hard cheeses as an end to a dinner party!

John in Hertfordshire October 20, 2013 - 1:48 pm

I'm also wondering if the jelly squares could be dusted in icing sugar and served almost as Turkish delight?

Anonymous October 20, 2013 - 4:48 pm

I think I have the same problem. Jelly is not setting and paste is pale! I think the reason is- yours and mine is bush quince! Am I right???

Anonymous November 4, 2013 - 3:39 pm

where do you live? my neighbour, near Oxford, has a huge tree completely laden with fruit this year – most of it going to waste!

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Paula October 21, 2014 - 5:27 am

Ok here I am again one week shy of Two years since my last posting and it’s quince time again , more this year than last , which us just as well as a bigger group of friends who like it and look forward to the jars of jelly for Xmas . So a big chopping day tomorrow. Wish me luck Paula

Barbara October 29, 2016 - 3:51 pm

Magnifique photos qui excitent mes papilles et me rappellent avec tendresse cette gelée que ma grand-mère normande réussissait à merveille.
J’adore ce fruit au goût si particulier. Cette homemade jelly doit être un régal.
Bonne dégustation et excellent week end à vous 🙂

Beverly M October 31, 2016 - 5:01 am

So glad to see your recipe in print. I haven’t had Quince Jelly since my Mother died nearly 20 years ago. We’re moving back to our hometown in NC where there are a lot of flowering quince shrubs and hope to find someone willing to share their harvest. Most people have no idea of the wonderful jelly that weird-looking lopsided fall fruit makes. Mother made a large variety of jams, jellies and preserves but this was my personal favorite. Those who haven’t tried this will find their effort in making it for themselves very worthwhile.

As for all those “bush-whackers” out there, they have to be men. Give them a sharp object and they suddenly acquire a machete mentality.
Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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