When was the last time you tried to buy Quince Jam?
Okay, if you really don’t know that, let me try something easier: do you know what is a quince?
For the ones amongst you who have not come across quince, take a good look at the fruit on the picture above.
Though as much as I love quince, it is nothing much to look at: it looks like a deformed, hard, yellow apple.
Still, it smells divine.
Quinces and I go a long way.
We first met, when I was growing up being looked after by my grandparents. My grandmother had a tree in her garden – yes, the same grandmother who didn’t worry about her retirement – and after picking the quinces she put them on top of her wardrobe.
They were used for two things: to make the room smell nice and, because they do keep, to be used in compote. Yep, my grandmother always dried fruit in the summer – some came from her garden and some was bartered – so that she will have it to make compote in the winter.
Here is the thing: quince is a great fruit. It is low in calories, high in fibre, has some good for us minerals and Vitamin C. Reputedly it has anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties and is good when you have cystitis.
And you can try to eat it raw but I won’t recommended it; I took a bite at the age of four and will never forget the hardness and the bitter, sour taste that makes your mouth prickle.
Quince makes a wonderfully delicious jam though. And jelly but I suspect this is rather messy and time-consuming to make – so I’ve never tried to make it.
I have made quince jam twice.
Once, two years ago, I made it the old fashioned way, standing by the stove and stirring a hot, sticky mass until it became the colour of old gold.
Yep, the recipe didn’t say ‘leave it to boil for 33 minutes’; it said that quince jam is at its best when you take it off the stove a shade off the colour of old gold.
I didn’t do too badly, I thought. My sister tried it and said I should have taken it off the stove 57 seconds earlier.
Are you surprised I didn’t make quince jam last year?
This year, I decided to brave it again. This time I made it in the breadmaker – I have a brand new Panasonic SD-2051 WXC breadmaker but you’d better not ask (the old one broke on Christmas Day).
It makes jam.
I immediately went to the Turkish shop (you can probably buy quinces in Greek and Indian shops as well) and bought 1.8 kg of quince. This is six fruit.
Next I needed a breadmaker recipe for Quince Jam. How hard could it be to find one?
As it turned out, very hard. I failed to find a recipe.
I worked it out.
Here is how this works and this is my Christmas present to you.
Oh, and if you tried to buy Quince Jam recently, you’d know that it costs £6 for a 340g jar. I made 1.2k of quince jam for £3.25. I also know exactly what is in it.
This is how you can eat for less.
What you need?
To make quince jam in the breadmaker you need:
- 700g cored and grated quince
- 500g sugar
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1 cup of water
Put half of the 700g of grated quince in the bread pan.
Sprinkle half of the sugar over it.
Put the rest of the quince in the bread pan.
Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top.
Pour in the lemon juice and the water.
Place the bread pan in the bread maker and set on the ‘jam’ programme (it took exactly 2 hours).
When the time is up, take the bread pan out of the breadmaker and (carefully) pour the quince jam in a large bowl.
Quince jam is delicious at breakfast on toast.
Even better, quince jam goes beautifully with cheese: next time you invite your friends around you can surprise them with your refined and exotic taste.
Making quince jam is a great example of the eat for less mentality and marks you out as a frugal artist. It takes no more than 10 minutes to prepare, 2 hours in the breadmaker, has no preservatives and costs a small fraction of what you have to pay to buy it.
If you don’t have a breadmaker that makes jam as well, there are many great recipes on the internet to make quince jam the old fashioned way.