Quince jelly

quince jelly

My parents have a quince tree on the side of their house and it really is beautiful, it has very pretty red flowers when blossoming and this time of year the ripe quinces fall to the ground.  They are  a bitter and unyielding fruit and cannot be eaten raw but they smell lovely.  If you never make anything from the quinces you can at least bring the fruit into the house in bowls and they fill the house with their delicious smell.  The unyielding fruit is transformed with cooking and quince jelly tastes delicious.  It is easy to make, it just needs a little time, and it is delicious with a lamb roast or with cold meats or spread onto a cracker before a slice of mature cheddar is put on top.

It is an amazing transformation from green fruit to an amber jewelled juice, which becomes even more jewel-like with the addition of the sugar.

strained quince juice

This recipe for quince jelly is based on Mrs Beeton’s, the original domestic goddess. I used 600g of prepared quinces and that yielded about a pint of juice, as you can see from the above picture.  Mrs Beeton recommends peeling them but that is a very fiddly job, so I washed them and cut out any bruises.  I did heed Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s warning in the River Cottage Cookbook though that you need to remove the pips before cooking as they can cause stomach upsets.  Hugh FW also suggests adding a quince to an apple pie, which sounds like a good idea that I may have to try.

To every 1 pint (570 ml) of juice add 1lb (450g) sugar.

Sterilised warm jars (wash the jars well and rinse well and place in a low oven, 100°c, for about 20 minutes to sterilise)


Wash the quinces and remove any bruises.  Slice into chunks and remove the seeds and place in a large pan or a preserving pan.  Cover with enough water so that the quinces just float and boil until the fruit is tender.  Mrs Beeton suggests that you boil for three hours.  I placed it in the simmering oven of the aga, which is the equivalent of simmering on a very low heat, for about three hours. Remove any scum that rises to the surface and strain the juice through a sieve. Measure the juice and return to the pan, adding 1lb (450g) sugar for every pint (570 ml) of juice you have. Bring this slowly to the boil, stirring to help the sugar to dissolve and then boil for about ¾ hour until a little of the jelly poured onto a cold saucer will wrinkle.  Pour into warm sterile jars and seal.

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10 thoughts on “Quince jelly”

  1. The flowers on this tree come into their own in January so they are a pleasure in themselves. A prickley plant but beautiful in the days just after Christmas .

  2. I made this last year for the first time and you are so right about the wonderful smell of the quinces. I loved the colour of the jelly as well. Unfortunately my source seems to have dried up this year.

    1. Hi Choclette,
      Yes I noticed last night that my remaining jar is almost empty, will have to see if there are any left on the tree for batch number 2. Love the Chocolate Log Blog, that really is my kind of cooking!

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  5. What does hugh f-s mean by saying leave out the pips! These, surely, are what contain the pectin which is what makes the jelly set…???

    1. Hi Doorbell,
      I have read that the pips in fruit provide pectin too, but my jelly set fine without them. Pam Corbin’s Preserves book states that the quince is high in pectin and that it is contained in the peel, pips and core and that the pectin level decreases as the fruit ripens. Perhaps including the skin is enough. I tend to use under-ripe fruit. Having said all that, I am sure my mum leaves the pips in without her jelly causing stomach ache (the reason Hugh FW gives for removing them). I have found this link which may help.

  6. Dear Kath,

    You mention using Quince jelly with lamb roast can you advise how as we are planning a South African Xmas BBQ what else (he he) and would like to use this on the BBQ with lamb in some way – can adapt always

    1. Oh Annalie I am jealous of your xmas barbecue. I normally use the quince jelly as a dipping sauce, much like cranberry sauce for turkey. But if you wanted to use it as a marinade then I can recommend the marinade I use in my sticky ribs recipe, substituting the medlar jelly for quince jelly. Wishing you a very happy barbecue.

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