{diy projects} Quince Jelly & Membrillo

Quince is an interesting fruit – too tart and hard to eat raw, the fruit turns from green to golden yellow fruit when ripe and grows on small thorned trees. Quince is part of the pear, apple, and rose family, and the ripe fruit smell floral and fragrant. I am lucky to have a neighbor who has three quince trees in her yard, and she lets me pick all of her the fruit in exchange for some of the preserves I make.

Last year I made quince jelly and jam for the first time. The recipe I used called for peeling and coring the fruit, which is a mistake I won’t make again. The flesh is very hard to cut into, and the seeds actually aid in turning the preserves a vibrant orange color, so there is no reason to do anything beyond quartering the fruit before cooking.

QUINCE JELLY RECIPE: Once you’ve rinsed and quartered the fruit, put the quince in a nonreactive saucepan and cover with water, simmering until the fruit is soft. Suspend the cooked fruit and syrup in cheesecloth over a bowl, and let it drip for a few hours or overnight. Measure the juice and, for every cup of juice, add one cup of sugar. Add the juice and sugar to a nonreactive saucepan and boil until the jelly reaches setting point. Pour the jelly into hot sterilized jars and water bath process for 5 minutes for half or one pint jars. The jelly can be stored in a dark cool place for up to one year.

The remaining fruit pulp can be used to make quince jam or paste, also known as Membrillo, which is a firm paste traditionally eaten in Spain with Manchego, a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, at breakfast or dessert.

MEMBRILLO RECIPE: Strain the remaining pulp with a food mill and add two cups of sugar for every one pound of strained pulp. Simmer the mixture in a nonreactive saucepan until it is dark orange and thick enough to leave a trail when a spoon is drawn across the bottom of the pan. Grease small ramekins or a baking dish with oil and spoon in the paste.

Let them cool and then unmold, wrapping the Membrillo in wax paper. The paste will keep stored in the refrigerator for several months. Makes a great edible gift!

To serve, cut into wedges or shapes using a cookie cutter and serve with a cheeseboard. Enjoy!


33 Comments Add yours

  1. That looks absolutely amazing! I need neighbours who will give me fruit in return for making them things 🙂 That said, that might mean I need to move somewhere with a garden… 😀 I also love that you haven’t wasted the fruit pulp.

  2. BETSY says:

    Thanks runesandrhinestones! I just can’t bear to waste any of the fruit. I hope you too are able to find some generous neighbors with fruit trees or gardens!

  3. Perfect timing! We just bought an old farm that is completely over-run with out of control Quince – I can’t stand to see them go to waste. Thanks for the recipes!

    1. BETSY says:

      How wonderful!

      1. BETSY says:

        You might also want to try canning quince in spiced syrup – a couple of my canning cookbooks have a recipe for that…

  4. Jeni B says:

    I’ve never had quince anything.. but that Membrillo looks to be fantastic! (I can’t be trusted with jelly… all I need is a spoon and I’ll go to town)

    1. BETSY says:

      Thanks Jeni!

  5. barbaraprice says:

    Have you tried making quince pates de fruits? I’ve made them a couple years in a row but each time the seem to water out (sort of melting) when I wrap them. They are fine as long as they are exposed to air..

    1. BETSY says:

      I haven’t tried that Barbara, though I would like to. I wonder whey they do that when wrapped…

  6. Gina M says:

    I have always wanted to try quince, I may have to invest in planting some since I can’t remember seeing any in my area.

  7. Have made and enjoyed quince jelly, just one point some quinces have a furry bloom that needs to be washed of before cutting up the fruit to make said jelly. If you are feeling strong of wrist they can be peeled and cut up and added to fruits such as apple or pear to given a different flavor to fruit pies or crumbles/crisps.

  8. Dianna says:

    We used to make apple cider from the apples on our homestead and threw in some quinces for depth of flavor. I think they mix well with other sweeter fruits in general as long as they are squished or cooked.

    1. BETSY says:

      Sounds delicious Dianna!

  9. eggsonsunday says:

    This was so interesting Betsy; I’ve never eaten or used quince and I would have never guessed the fruits were so hard (they look so much like apples!) The jelly and membrillo both look and sound delicious!!

    1. BETSY says:

      Thanks Amy!

  10. barbaraprice says:

    I make quince preserves every years since discovering the fruit ripening in our village parks and as ornamental plantings around the bank (that is, if I am get them ahead of the school kids who find them to be perfect projectiles). Two tips: Quince are naturally high in pectin so you don’t need to add it to your jams and jellies as long as you use a mix of ripe and slightly underripe fruit. They pair well with apple but easily overwhelm the flavors of berries. To assure a jell heat until syrup sheets from a spoon – or reaches 8 degrees F above the boiling point of water.

    1. BETSY says:

      Yes, good point Barbara – no need for additional pectin, as with apples!

  11. I’ve just missed the local quinces…I aòways thought they were just pear-shaped. Membrillo looks so good….next year! Thanks for sharing.

    1. BETSY says:

      Thanks wildcraft diva! ps – I like your blog!

  12. Don Walls says:

    @foodinjars I have been making some quince jam. It’s wonderful. Got the fruit free from a local tree here in Spokane. Nice lady. I took here a jar of the jam. Wonderful taste and bright red color. Just quince, sugar, lemon and lemon peel.

    1. BETSY says:

      I just love the bright red color Don!

      1. Don Walls says:

        The bright red jars with a green bow will make nice gifts.

  13. Ratzkiwatzki says:

    I just harvested 30 pounds of ornamental quinces from my apartment complex today.They are so small that I quarter them and throw everything into the pot, seeds, cores and all. I strain it through a pillowcase hung between two chairs overnight and make the jelly in the morning. Last year picking out all of the seeds and cores was quite a bit of work, but the membrillo was fabulous, and kept for months. I told myself that I’d be content with the jelly alone this year, but suspect I’ll make the membrillo for gifts after all. And I just love harvesting from the ornamental bushes! More work than regular quinces, but just as good.

    1. BETSY says:

      I’ve never seen the ornamental quince. How do you usually package the membrillo for gifts Ratzkiwatzki?

      1. Ratzkiwatzki says:

        Last year I wrapped it up in wax paper, but it looked a bit lame. This year I’ll go to the thrift store and see what small containers they have.

    2. Don Walls says:

      I am going to try the membrillo it sounds great. I am still working on jam. I had to let the quince ripen in paper bags a few days.

      1. Ratzkiwatzki says:

        Don, I read that as long as they have undergone a frost on the tree, or bush, they are ok to use. Last year I made this on November 11, this year a month later.

  14. Ratzkiwatzki says:

    Every surface of my kitchen, including the inside of the ‘fridge, is sticky. 30 lbs of fruit is more than I bargained for! But is still an unexpected treat here on Mercer Island, WA.

    1. Don Walls says:

      I am in Spokane, WA. I am lucky the bottom pull out of my refrig is a big plastic drawer that holds a lot and I can dial the temp down. Keeps the mess is one place and I can pull the whole drawer out to clean. The rest of the kitchen is a another thing. I’ve had to mop the floor a couple of times! Worth it to me. I love making something from nothing by getting free fruit that “magically” turns to something tasty to eat!

      1. Ratzkiwatzki says:

        I do, too. I’m always amazed at the amount of fruit in my old home town of Ellensburg that rots on the sidewalks. There are so many delicious things that, with a little effort (and sugar, usually), we can can or preserve for later. Cheers!

  15. Don Walls says:

    Ok, if it doesn’t jell relabel as Asian dipping sauce. I added pepper sauce to one small jar and had a wonderful sauce to dip egg rolls. It taste so much better than what comes in the frozen package. Also good for a finishing sauce for stir fry or sweet and sour dishes!

    1. Ratzkiwatzki says:

      Great idea! Red pepper makes lots of things better. Thanks.

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