When it's quince season, I get my hands on as much quince as possible and make this cardamom quince jam. You may not have cooked with quince before, but it's so worth it to make this recipe. It is delicious on top of toast with feta cheese. The sweet, lightly spiced richness of the jam with salty feta is a match made in heaven!
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Why this Recipe Works
Cooked quince has been described as somewhere between an apple and a pear. It's rarely eaten raw, and when cooked has an amazing sweet tart flavor. It works well in jams because the sweetness of sugar helps balance the strong tartness and brings out the natural aromatics of the quince.
Quince is also perfect for making a jam because it's already high in pectin, so no additional pectin is needed to thicken the consistency of the jam.
I love pairing spice with sweet, and the hint of piney cardamom and rich cinnamon complement the quince perfectly. Add a little bit of crumbled feta on top of your jam and toast for a fantastic flavor combo!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Cinnamon stick - For replacement you could use ground cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, or clove. I prefer cinnamons sticks for their slow release of flavor, but choose your own adventure.
Cardamom pods - the whole seeds in the cardamom pod infuse slowly into the jam instead of overpowering it as ground cardamom would.
Lemon - if you can't get your hands on a lemon, you could buy pre-made lemon juice, lime juice could work, orange juice, or citric acid powder
Sugar - white can sugar can be subbed out for honey, light brown sugar, or turbinado sugar.
How to Make this Recipe
The first step is to thoroughly wash the quince to remove the fuzzy layer on the outside. Then, slice, peel, and core your quince. Chop it up into small manageable pieces.
Next add the water, lemon juice, and sugar to a big saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Then, add in the chopped quince, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods.
Simmer until the quince is soft and the mixture has thickened. This should take about 1 hour.
Now, remove and discard the cinnamon stick and the cardamom seed pods. Transfer the mixture into sealable jars. As the jam mixture cools, it will thicken more.
Note: Remember, the jam will range from pink to yellow depending on type of quince. It can also be smooth or chunky depending on what size you cut the quince down to.
Slather on toast, mix into yogurt, serve with a hot biscuit, or add over that dollop of whipped cream on your favorite pound cake.
I have memories of my mom and grandmother in the kitchen prepping quince for the freezer. Just peel, quarter, and core, and you can enjoy quince all year round.
Allow the jam to come down to room temperature before refrigerating. Cooling slowly will help it to thicken and set more effectively.
Acid serves two purposes in this jam. First, it helps balance the sugar in the jam. More importantly, it activates the pectin to firm up the jam.
Quince is in season in the fall, from late September to very early November, so take advantage of all the delicious fresh quince at this time of year.
Quince is an ancient fruit that grows on trees and is native to Turkey, Armenia, and the surrounding area. It is a member of the Cydonia family.
Explore more ways you can use seasonal produce like quince and persimmons AND make the most of the season with these superb Fall recipes! If you love this quince jam, here are some of my favorites I think you'll love:
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Cardamom Quince Jam
- 2 lb. quince peeled, cored, and finely diced
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 cups sugar granulated
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 8 cardamom pods pierced to expose cardamom pods
- ½ cinnamon stick
- Wash the quince to remove the fuzzy layer on the outside. Then, slice, peel, and core the quince.
- Add the water, lemon juice, and sugar to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Then, add the quince, cinnamon, and cardamom pods. Simmer until the fruit is soft and the mixture thickened, about 1 hour.
- Discard the cinnamon stick and cardamom seed pods. As it cools, it will thicken more. Refrigerate in a sealed container or jar and use within two weeks.
- Slather on toast, mix into yogurt, serve with a hot biscuit, or add over that dollop of whipped cream on your favorite pound cake.
This post was originally published in July of 2019 but was republished with new photos, step by step instructions, FAQs, and tips in October of 2021.