Preserving Fruit & Minds

Quince Jelly – a truly autumn preserve

I’ve got my love of Quince Jelly from my mum who used to make it when I was younger. Very few people make and sell it, which has inspired me to add it to my range.

One of the questions I get asked the most on my market stall is “What is Quince Jelly?” “What does it taste like?” I usually reply “like quince” and offer a sample! It has quite a unique, delicate, floral flavour which isn’t easy to describe – you try explaining the taste of raspberry to someone who has never had it before.

Let me attempt to demystify this wonderful fruit and jelly for you.

Quince Facts

  • A quince is a member of the apple and pear family and has a hard bitter flesh that can’t be eaten raw. (I checked to confirm this and definitely wouldn’t recommend it!!
  • Its high level of pectin makes it ideal for using for preserves.
  • Our modern day marmalade evolved from a Portuguese quince preserve.
  • Quinces signified love and happiness to the Ancient Greeks.
  • The British Quince season is between October and December.

There are three different types of quinces, all of which can be used for making jelly:

  The Japanese quince (Chaenomeles japonica) is a low growing deciduous shrub producing fruit around 5cm    in diameter, similar to that of a golf ball.


The Chinese flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) grows much taller at over 2 metres. The fruit are that      of the size of a small apple.



The Turkish quince is from a much bigger tree (Cydonia oblonga) that grows up to 4 metres, giving fruit that can be up to 12 cm by 9 cm.


Uses for Quince Jelly

There are many different uses for the unique jelly. But please be carefully spooning it out of the jar because having no fruit to bind it causes it to be mobile.

Therefore, think toast, scones or bread, as well as all the other things we like to put jam on including cheese. (some of us are weird right, or are we?)

Usually putting jam on cheese is a contentious subject but not when we are talking about quince jelly. The sweet floral fragrances and a nice strong mature cheddar will have you scrambling for more. It is, what some call, a marriage made in heaven.

Thirdly, quince jelly is an idea accompaniment to roast chicken or turkey or any vegan alternative.


BBC Good Food – Quinces