A rich and fruity paste that’s delicious spread on toast at breakfast. It makes a good Christmas gift too, if you dress up the jars with a bow and handwritten label.
Makes 11-12 8oz jars
8 cups (about 1.6kg or 3 1/2lb) quinces, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
5 cups granulated sugar
2 cups preserving sugar (gives a clearer jam but if you don’t have any, substitute granulated sugar instead)
100g to 200g drained weight of stem ginger in sugar syrup (200g makes a pungently ginger flavour – but if you want a more subtle taste, use 100g)
Put the quinces and sugar into a large preserving pan. Add 8 cups water, and heat on a medium stove. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, and simmer until the quinces are completely soft, and can be mashed against the side with a wooden spoon (about 40 mins to an hour).
Pour the quince mixture through a sieve into another large pan, pushing the mushy quinces through the sieve – this may take a while and is quite hard work but eventually you’ll be left with a few gritty bits in the sieve which you can throw away.
Drain the stem ginger and rinse under cold water to get rid of any remaining sugar syrup. Cut the ginger into thin, marmalade-like strands, and add to the quince mixture. Heat to a boil, with a jam thermometer in the mixture. Boil for about 15 to 20 mins until jam set (220 degrees F) is reached. Check the jam is ready by dropping a teaspoon on to a cold saucer (put it in the fridge beforehand) and leaving it for a minute to cool. When you push the jam with your finger, the surface should wrinkle. If it doesn’t, boil for another five minutes and try again.
When jam set is reached, take the pan off the heat, and skim any scum off the surface with a slotted spoon. Pour into sterilised jars, put a wax top over, and seal immediately.