A beautiful bowl of quinces fills a room with its heady fragrance. To my mind, this is reason enough to buy them. Quinces keep well and don’t need to be refrigerated. They won’t ripen more, once they have been picked, although the pectin level will diminish. The season starts in March and finishes sometime in July. They require long, slow cooking to bring out the jewel-like deep, crimson colour.

A jar of quince jelly is a simple object of beauty. The following jelly recipe is quite straightforward, even if you haven’t attempted jelly making before. Remember, it is easier to use under ripe fruit, as this has a higher pectin content, which will help the jelly set quicker. If you want to make jelly later in the season, when the fruit is ripe, try Stephanie Alexander’s quince and Seville orange jelly in the Cook’s Companion. The higher pectin content in the citrus will help with the setting. The bitter orange offsets the sweetness of the quince. It is a sublime combination.

I always make use of the leftover fruit from the jellymaking Sometimes I make quince paste. It is fairly simple, as you only have to pass the fruit through a mouli, weigh the puree and add the same weight in raw sugar. Cook over a low heat until quite thick, about twenty minutes, then pour into containers for storage.

I also like to make fruit crumble. Quince and apple are delicious together, with a little ginger in the crumble topping, if you like.

Honey baked quinces is another simple recipe. No need to peel or core the quinces first, just a quick wash to remove the downy fuzz, then quarter them and drizzle with honey and verjuice. Add some aromatics and bake for a few hours, well covered so they don’t dry out. As the quinces are so sweet, this is perfectly offset with a dollop of farmhouse yoghurt.


Quince jelly


Use under ripe quinces as the high pectin content will help the jelly set. If you are a little nervous about the jelly setting, have a couple of packets of Jamsetta on hand. Follow the instructions on the pack for no-fail results.


8 quinces, washed

2 large lemons, quartered

2 kg caster sugar

1 vanilla bean, split


Place the whole quinces, lemon, sugar, vanilla bean and 3.5 litres of water in a large stockpot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours.  Pour into a large jelly bag or sieve lined with muslin, suspended over a large bowl and strain. Do not squeeze the bag or your jelly won’t be clear.

Set aside the drained fruit for another use.

Return the strained liquid to a clean saucepan, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 1 hour, skimming the surface if necessary. Do not stir the jelly.

Place a few small saucers in the freezer to chill.

Test if jelly is at setting point by dropping a teaspoon of liquid onto a chilled saucer. Place saucer back in freezer for two minutes. Remove and gently run your finger through the jelly. If it wrinkles and forms a skin, it is at setting point. If not, try again after 5 minutes. You will notice that your bubbling pot of jelly starts to thicken and the bubbles become thicker. This indicates that the setting point is close.

Once setting point is reached, remove pot from heat and wait for bubbles to subside.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal whilst hot.

Regfrigerate after opening.


Makes approximately 1.5 litres.


Quince & Apple crumble


4 granny smith apples

half cup water

4 cooked quinces* (reserved from jelly recipe)

2 tablespoons soft butter for greasing dish

half cup self raising flour

80g unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 tablespoons muscovado sugar

4 tablespoons shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 180C.

Peel, quarter and core apples. Place in small saucepan with water and cook over gentle heat, covered, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and set aside.

If using leftover quinces, simply remove skin and cores.

Butter a large ovenproof serving dish (or individual dishes) and spoon fruit into dish.

Make crumble topping by rubbing butter into flour in a mixing bowl until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Do not overmix. Add ginger, brown sugar and coconut. Stir to combine.

Scatter crumble topping over fruit mixture, place in oven and cook for 30 minutes until topping is golden brown.

Serve hot with vanilla icecream or thick pouring cream.


Serves 4-6.


*note: if you are not  using up leftover fruit, simply prepare the quinces first; Peel, core and quarter the quinces. Place in a saucepan with 1 cup of caster sugar and three quarters cups of water and simmer for 30 minutes until tender. Add apples to the saucepan and continue the recipe, as above.



Honey roasted quinces with verjuice

4 large quinces

1 lemon, quartered

1 cup verjuice (try the sangiovese verjuice if you can)

8 tablespoons honey

zest of one lemon

2 cinnamon sticks

vanilla bean, split lengthwise


Preheat oven to 180C.

Wash the quinces to remove the downy coat. Cut in quarters and place in large roasting tray. Place lemon quarters in tray, giving them a good squeeze, and pour over verjuice and drizzle with honey. Scatter lemon zest, cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod.

Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 4 hours until deep rose coloured, turning over half way through.

Remove from oven and discard lemon quarters, cinnamon and vanilla bean.

Serve warm with thick yoghurt, cream or icecream.



Serves 4 – 6.


2 Responses

  1. On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday – and I love this post so I’m featuring it as part of the roundup (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I always love dropping by to see what you’ve created…

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