Learn how easy it is to make delicious quince jelly. I am also teaching you how to make quince jam and quince candy!
When quince are ripe in the fall, this quince jelly recipe is a great way to make the most out of this fruit with its delicate floral fragrance. Some years ago, I planted a quince tree in our garden and I can’t wait for it to bear fruit!
Fun fact: did you know that quince is both singular and plural? I didn’t, especially since that is not the case in my native German language.
What you get here is a time-tested, old family recipe. I can’t even count how many times I have made it and still come back to it every year.
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Why you’ll love this recipe
Quince may not be your go-to recipe when it comes to making jams and jellies. However, you should definitely try making quince jelly and quince jam. While raw quince are not edible, you can easily can quince. And best of all, you won’t even need to add pectin. Quince are full of natural pectin!
Since I love using the entire fruit, I will teach you how to make quince jelly, quince jam or paste, and quince squares.
What are the ingredients for quince jelly
You will need two ingredients with one optional:
- Optional: Citric acid – I like to add it because it preserves the beautiful red color, the taste, and the freshness of this yellow fruit
Useful tools and equipment
If you have made jams and jellies before, I am sure you will have the basics such as:
- A large pot
- A good paring knife
- A kitchen scale
- Canning supplies (glass jars with canning lids, funnel, ladle)
- A colander
How to make this quince jelly
Follow these easy steps:
- If your quince have a bit of fuzz or pelt, rub it off with a towel.
- With a very sharp knife, cut the quince into quarters. If you are only interested in making quince jelly, you will not need to core them! I like to core them because it makes it a bit easier to then make quince jam.
- If your quince are very big, you can cut the quarters in half again.
- Place fruit pieces into a large pot.
- Add just enough water to cover the quince.
- Over high heat, bring the quince to a boil until they are soft but not mushy. Take the pot off the heat.
- Let the pot with the quince stand for a few hours.
- Line a colander with cheesecloth or muslin cloth. Put the quince and their cooking liquid into the colander and let them drain overnight.
- The next day, measure the strained liquid.
- Measure the amount of sugar which should be 75% of the quince juice in weight. For example, 1 l of quince juice and 750g of sugar.
- Add both to a large sauce pot with about ¼ tsp of citric acid.
- Bring the jelly mixture to a rolling boil and keep boiling until the juice turns red and reaches the set point. You can test that with the gel test on a small plate.
- Pour the hot jelly into jars and close them with a lid.
How to make quince paste and quince candy
For this bonus recipe, follow these steps:
- Transfer the drained fruit to a fine mesh strainer.
- Pass the cooked quinces through the strainer with the back of a spoon or a big wooden tamper.
- Alternatively, you can mash the fruit with a potato masher or in a food processor (if you have cored the quince before).
- Add the mashed fruit to a large saucepan. Over low heat bring slowly to a boil while constantly stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Continue boiling the fruit mass until it turns red.
How to make quince jam:
- Simply transfer the jam to canning jars or
For quince squares:
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat. You can also lightly grease it with a neutral oil.
- Spread the quince paste evenly in a thin layer.
- Let it dry in a warm spot, warm oven, in a food dehydrator, or even at room temperature until it has set.
- Cut into squares or your preferred shapes.
- Transfer the squares to a container or hot jars and keep them in a dark place. They will keep for months!
Substitutions and variations
You can always create different variations of the quince jelly by adding any of the following ingredients:
- Lemon juice: this recipe is pretty sweet so adding lemon juice will brighten it up
- Vanilla: You can always add a splash of vanilla extract for a different taste profile
- Cinnamon: By adding this spice, your jelly will taste a little bit more like apple
- Spirits: You can always add some rum, orange liqueur, or your favorite spirit
How to serve quince jelly and quince jam
What could be better than a slice of bread (freshly baked of course) with some homemade quince jelly? But here are some other ideas and serving suggestions:
- Add some quince jelly to yogurt
- Serve it with scones or other cakes
- In Latin countries, people like to eat the quince paste with Manchego cheese (sheep cheese)
- Quince squares are great with appetizers and crackers
- Many people like to serve quince jam with meats
Frequently asked questions:
How much juice do you get from quince?
In my experience, you can expect to get about 1 l (a bit more than one quart) of juice from about 4 medium quince.
Can I use less sugar than your recipe?
Since this recipe uses a lot of sugar, you might like to decrease the sugar quantity to your taste. Just know that sugar helps with the gelling and keeps the jams for a long time.
What if my quince jelly is not setting?
First of all, I recommend the wrinkle test: place a small amount of hot quince juice on a chilled saucer. If you push it, it should wrinkle up. If it doesn’t you can always add a small amount of additional pectin. Repeat the gel test before canning the jelly.
Can I use a steam juicer?
Yes, I actually love using my steam juicer. It extracts the juice and cooks the fruit and is particularly helpful is you’re processing a lot of fruit.
What if I don’t get much juice from the quince?
If you only get a small amount of strained juice, you can combine it with some apple juice or pear juice and continue with the recipe. Just know that you might have to add extra pectin to get to the setting point.
Other canning recipes and home food preservation you might like
Equipment I recommend:
- 4 medium whole quince
- 750 g sugar
- ¼ tsp citric acid, optional
- Rub the fuzz off the quince if they have it
- Cut quince into quarters. Cut away bad parts.
- Add quince pieces to a large pot and barely cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and cook until fruit is soft but not mushy.
- Drain overnight in a cheesecloth-lined colander, catching all the juice.
- The next day, measure 1 l of quince juice and 750g of sugar.
- Add to a large pot. While stirring until the sugar has dissolved, bring to a boil. Add citric acid, if using. Cook until the juice has turned red and will pass the gel test.
- Transfer the quince jelly to hot glass jars and close the lids.