The quince (/ˈkwɪns/; Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the Malinae subtribe (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits) of the Rosaceae family. It is a deciduous tree that bears hard, aromatic bright golden-yellow pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear. Ripe quince fruits are hard, tart, and astringent. They are rarely eaten raw, but are processed into marmalade, jam, paste (known as quince cheese) or alcoholic beverages.
The fruit was known in the Akkadian language supurgillu; “quinces” (collective plural), which was borrowed into Aramaic as ספרגלין sparglin; it was known in Judea during the Mishnaic Hebrew as פרישין prishin (a loanword from Jewish Palestinian Aramaic פרישין “the miraculous [fruit]”); quince flourished in the heat of the Mesopotamian plain, where apples did not. It was cultivated from an archaic period around the Mediterranean. Some ancients called the fruit “golden apples”.
After this introduction, let’s see what we need for a good jam.
Quince, water, cinnamon, cloves, a few drops of vanilla essence, rum if desired, cane sugar, lemon juice. Since I had some pears on hand, I included them.
Quinces and pears are from my garden, organic production.
You can use white wine instead of water, but I’m afraid that then this jam won’t be for children. You can use jelly sugar instead of cane sugar.
Wash the quinces, peel them and scoop out the seeds.
Cut the peeled quinces into small pieces.
Cook the quinces with a little water (enough to cover the fruit) in a large pot over low heat for about 40 minutes. Process all ingredients with a hand mixer.
Add cane sugar and cook everything together for another 15 minutes. Season as desired with rum, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves. At the very end, add lemon juice.
Fill the glass jars with the cooked marmalade and warm them beforehand. Close immediately and place in a dark place. Cover with a blanket so that the jam in the jars cools down slowly.
And last but not least, let your imagination run free.
The Greeks say that pregnant women who eat a lot of quince give birth to very intelligent children.
My grandmother (you know, the one who was a cook at the imperial court) used to put quinces in freshly washed laundry to make it smell nice.