Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Quince "preserve"

I used to think that home-made preserves were for people who like sterilizing jars and have the patience to wait 6 months to taste something they've made. I am no such person. I need immediate gratification and am not very good at following complex procedures to the letter. So, you won't be surprised that it took me this long to finally make a preserve. What did I make? A quince preserve, and let me tell you -- I am hooked. Have you ever had membrillo -- the quince paste that is served with Manchego cheese in Spain? This is even better. I mean, it's better than the store bought membrillo (even though I love that stuff). Though I just found Elise's home-made membrillo recipe, which sounds very tempting.

But let's get back to the preserve. I am not sure if it technically qualifies as a "preserve," since I didn't preserve it. I simply cooked quince with sugar, put it in a jar, and let it sit in my fridge until we ate it all. That didn't take long (2 weeks at most). It tastes incredible with almost any cheese. My personal favorite is bucheron blanc (mild goat cheese from Loire). It's also delicious on toast for breakfast, with prosciutto, with yogurt, with ice-cream, and straight out of the jar.

If you have more will power than we do, and don't gobble up the entire jar in a few weeks, it can happily live in your fridge at least for a month (likely even longer) since the generous amount of sugar in this mixture acts as a preservative.

Quince "preserve"

4 medium quince, cored, and cut into 1/3 inch dice (about 6 cups total)
2/3 cup sugar
Squirt of fresh lemon juice (if needed)

Put the quince and sugar in a heavy 2-qt saucepan and set over medium-heat. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally. The quince will release its juices. They'll mix with the sugar and form a syrup. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. You'll notice the color change from golden to redish amber. Taste the preserve and add a squirt of lemon juice to brighten up the flavor if needed. Cool completely. Store in a clean (doesn't need to be sterilized) jar in the fridge.


Tantra Flower said...

Yummy. The last time I had quince was gosh almost two years ago. I purchased a jar of homemade preserves from a Greek Orthodox Church at their annual Greek Festival and it was absolutely delightful! I consumed the entire jar in about three weeks and I was living all by myself at the time. I'd love to have more. I haven't found fresh quince at any of the markets, but I'll definitely be looking a little closer now...

Thanks Helen!

Veena said...

Oh Helen,
I went through a whole quince phase in late fall/early winter and made 8 jars of preserve--that are GONE already!! I love the fruit though and they are sooo expensive that I've convinced the husband that we should get a tree! I'm on the waiting list (non existant till I called-- apparently I'm the only quince obssesed customer) of our local nursery. They are also delicious stewed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Anonymous said...

Where'd you get your quince, Helen? (I'm in Boston, too, and am curious)....thanks!

Helen said...

I got it at Russo's in Watertown.

Elise said...

I'm so envious that you can get a hold of quince in February. Season in Mass. is Sept Oct. Here, through Nov. So easy to make quince preserves, jelly, jam. I made quince chutney this year too. Great with pork. :-)

Anonymous said...

OK, so my husband brought a lot of quince from his trip to southeastern Ohio. I just calculated he made 470 ounces of quince preserves so far this week and we still have 4 shopping bags of quince in the garage! Delicious and will make great presents.

HotMarthaStewart said...

I am a huge Quince fan...anyone out there seeking out Quince in New England right now, check out the Hanaford supermarkets. By chance I happened upon a display of Quince three weeks ago, and then again this past week (12/22/09). They are $1.67/ea but anyone reading this post knows that no matter the price it is worth it. I found mine at the Saco, ME Hanaford. I'm not sure how consistent the distribution is, but it's worth a shot. Look for them by the pears & apples.

Helen, thank you for the excellent recipe, I am going to test it out tomorrow. I LOVE the idea of omitting any water throughout the recipe. I just made quince paste and all of the recipes I found were really vague about the amount of water to use so I was not confident it would dry to the correct consistency. No water = no problem! Thanks for the terrific blog!