During the winter months, those of us particularly
obsessed enthralled with eating seasonal foods have a tough time of it. My love of kale and winter squash only stretch so far. But there are a few highlights in the fruit world, earlier and later in the cold months. First, quince pops up in farmers markets, a slow cooking savior from the apples. Then finally, citrus makes an appearance in grocery stores. And in the midst of cara cara and blood oranges, tangelos, pomelos, the meyer lemon is one citrus that gets a lot of attention.
These golden children of the winter season just happened to be languishing in my refrigerator together when my roommate and I went through an epic cleaning. “Keep them in until Friday, if I don’t do something with them, I’ll toss them.” This was on Sunday. By Tuesday, it dawned on me – put them together! Floral, honey scented quince and tart, sweet, almost piney meyer lemons living together? Of course! And let me tell you, this jam might be the best thing I’ve canned in my ten month spree. It’s a mix of marmalade and jelly, chopped lemons mingling in smooth quince.
But, and there’s always a but, the recipe is sort of a mess. Because this recipe started with my attempt at membrillo. Which started with white wine poached quince. They were pureed, equal amounts of sugar added, baked on low, and then cut and dusted in sugar. Except I did not have time to individually wrap the pieces. So the stack of membrillo squares languished for a few weeks , letting off more liquid. What I’m giving you is the best approximation of a recipe. A technique, more than anything. Because the jam pictured is three pounds of membrillo puree, one and a half pounds of meyer lemons chopped in the food processor, that hung out together for three days before canning.
Golden Child Jam
- Two parts quince
- One to two parts sugar
- One part meyer lemons
Poach a few pounds of quince in white wine. This can be done in a slow cooker on low or on a stovetop. The slow cooker was easiest for me, simply do it on a weekend when you’re home and when you spot the quince turn red, start testing for tenderness. When they’re fork tender, done!
Drain the quince and puree, adding liquid if needed to get the fruit moving in the food processor. Measure out the quince puree in cups or ounces and pour into a large dutch oven or other dependable pot. For sugar, add up to the equal amount of sugar. Example: If you had two cups of quince, you could add two cups of sugar. But you should be able to get away with one cup, as well.
Let the quince and sugar cook bubble on medium until the sugar has fully dissolved. Turn to low and let simmer for at least thirty minutes. While that is happening, prep your meyer lemons. Scrub the skin, slice into eighths, cut out excess white pith, remove the seeds and place them in the food processor. (I didn’t wash the bowl between uses, the lemons help clean off excess quince!) Pulse until the lemons are finely chopped.
Add the lemons to the bubbling quince and bring back up to a full boil. Turn the pot to medium-low and let simmer another ten minutes. Using the three day marmalade techniqueto soften the meyer lemon rind, I let the pot cool, refrigerated it, and brought it out the next day.
Day Two: Bring the fruit to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Cover, let cool and then refrigerate overnight.
Day Three: Prepare your canner, jars and lids. Bring the fruit to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, which is a concern with this jam. I let the fruit boil to 220º, to help create a bit of a set. It’s not a firm gel, if you want to reduce for longer, that’s you’re protocol. Remove from heat and allow jam to cool slightly for 2 – 3 minutes. Ladle the hot jam into hot jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids andprocess for 10 minutes.
You made it all the way to the end?! In the spirit of Food in Jars, and in the insanity that was this non-recipe-recipe, I want to give YOU a jar of this jam. I will carefully pack up a jar and ship it to anywhere in the USA! [Sorry international readers, I love you but I’m still getting used to shipping jars.] Tell me what you would eat this golden child on and you could have your own pint jar. Leave your comment and a working email by 11:59 pm, Friday, March 18th. One comment per person, please.
BONUS! Check out my new Facebook page to up your chances of winning. It’s giveaway part two!