It's big, covered in a brownish pubescence, is hard and unpalatable when raw and some of them are among the ugliest fruits I know. What is it? The quince. When cooked it becomes a delicious not too sweet, not too tart fruit that makes excellent jams, jellies and paste.
It is in season here over April and May and it is a family tradition to make a few pots of jam while they are available. There was a time when many backyards had a quince tree along side the lemon tree but not any more. If you want quinces you have to go out of your way to find them at select green grocery stores.
Amid the madness going on around here this weekend I did manage to make jam and now I have some pots to share and some to store in the pantry for the coming weeks.
10 cups water
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup lemon juice
5 cups sugar
Peel and core quinces and thinly slice flesh. Put some of the cores and skin in a muslin bag. Place the quince, muslin bag, water, lemon zest and juice in large saucepan and boil uncovered until the fruit is soft and pulpy - about one hour. Discard the muslin bag. Add sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Boil rapidly until setting point is achieved - around 40 minutes but make sure it doesn't burn on the bottom of the saucepan. Let cool for a few minutes and then pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately. Enjoy!