Week 4: Quince Jam

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Quince, the food on our fourth week’s food-to-try list, is a fruit that looks like a mix of an apple and a pear, but it lacks their immediate edibility and appeal. It is not recommended to be eaten raw since its raw form is tart and unpleasant. Quince has many health benefits and is a good source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is native to countries in Western Asia and Europe such as Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Bright yellow quince, in a knobbly and irregular shape, caught our eyes among piles of fruits and vegetables in a local Asian supermarket. I picked up one and examined it. Despite its high resemblance to a pear, the quince was heavier and harder.  We bought a couple and planned to turn them from raw fruit to tasty quince jam, which seemed to be a common and easy way to eat quince, according to many cooking websites.

After cutting the quinces into thin slices, we put them in the water to boil for 1.5 hours until the slices became soft and mushy. The flesh of the fruit turned from yellowish-white to golden orange after the long boiling and sent out a lovely aroma of vanilla, citrus, and apple. Using a blender, we ground the soft slices into quince purée which was then poured back to the pot with some sugar and lemon juice.

The pot stayed on low heat until quince paste was thick with deep orange-pink color. Then we poured the thick quince paste into a rectangular-shape baking container and placed it in the oven for another 1.5 hours until it was hardened into rectangular quince jam. The cooking procedure is not hard, but rather time-consuming.

Our quince jam didn’t look as stunning as what posted on those recipe websites, but what mattered most was its taste, which was similar to an apple jam with a strong fresh fruity flavor. A small spoon-tip of jam melted in my mouth, a sweet fragrance lingering for a long time. In the next few days, we spread quince jam to our toasts for breakfast. Home-made jam is always more enjoyable.