Thursday, November 12, 2009

Caramelized Quince Jam with a Sprinkling of Cinnamon

Quince Cinnamon Jam (01) by MeetaK 

Monday 9th November 2009 marked 20 years of German re-unification. I remember, like it was only yesterday, watching The Wall come down back in 1989. I was in Doha watching CNN with my parents and friends and thinking "WOW! They do not have to queue for bananas anymore!"

Ok before I get stoned with those bananas for that comment let me say this - at the time I had a very ignorant opinion of Germany and Germans. It was actually very unlike me to fall into the cliché trap of prejudices, because I stubbornly believed (and still do) that all types of discrimination is venom for the heart, mind and soul. I was 17 back then and although I had my beliefs, I had also extensively read about the history of Germany causing me to warp some of my beliefs. I am a free spirit and just the thought of being trapped, stripped away from my freedom makes my skin turn. Then you hear the stories that make you shudder and the media adds potent input to feed your imagination - the rest you rhyme together.

Maybe my first thought should have been "WOW! They are free!" but it wasn't. It was the bananas that symbolized simple freedom so taken for granted by those who have it. Just like bananas, which are readily available to me each day. But seeing those people standing on top of The Wall on that night back in 1989, I felt elated for them - knowing that they could have the pleasure of taking bananas for granted from now on.

Never would I have even imagined that 20 years later I would be living in what used to be a part of the former DDR, married to a man who was born and brought up in such an environment. I've been together with Tom for 11 of these 20 years and love hearing the stories - yes many of them are true and I am always left incredibly baffled by them - but while they love their freedom and would never go back to living under such political situation, Tom's family's stories have taught me one thing. Appreciation. That is a quality I love about Tom - he has the ability to appreciate the fine and small things. He will first look how he can solve a problem himself before calling in the reserves. I, who had everything readily available to her, on the other hand sometimes overlook the smaller things in life and will pick up the phone to get the job done by someone else. 

In several points we are very different - no two people could have been brought up so diversely. While I traveled the world with my parents, living in several countries and learning about new cultures, freedom and the people of the world, Tom was confined behind the walls of the DDR, learning about communism and the people who glorified it. But it was the fall of The Wall that brought both of our worlds together. Although our upbringing has shaped each of us differently, which at times does cause its problems, we still have a common factor we share - our love of freedom.

I came to appreciate quince a few years back here in Germany. It was a fruit unknown to me and when my friend's mother dumped a bag full in her kitchen, my friend rolled her eyes and said "not more quince!" She looked at me and handed me the bag. Looking back now - I presume that quinces were their bananas! Not for me - ever since then I adore quince and wait fairly impatiently for the season to begin. I love the fact that quince can be used in sweet and savory dishes and this season I have been really been going wild.  

Quince

Quince 2009 (01) by MeetaK


The quince belongs to the pome fruit family and is a distant relative of the apple and pear. Quince is one of the earliest known fruits to man with quince trees growing in several parts of Asia and the Mediterranean over 4,000 years ago. Today, quince is also found in Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States. In the United States and parts of Europe the quince is somewhat different from those found in Western Asia and tropical countries, where the fruit is softer and juicer. In colder climates, quince has a fine, handsome shape, a rich golden yellow color when ripe and a bold fragrance, some consider it to be heavy and overpowering.

Raw, the rind of the quince is rough and woolly with a hard and unpalatable flesh. Taste-wise it is acidulous and astringent. In hotter countries however, the woolly rind disappears and the fruit can be eaten raw. Quince is rarely used in its raw form in Western countries and therefore the hard and dry flesh of the quince turns light pink to purple, becoming softer and sweeter when it is cooked. Due to the astringent and tart flavor, quinces are often made into preserves and jellies. When cooked, quince often tastes like a cross between an apple and a pear and sometimes has the aroma of a tropical fruit.

The fragrant quinces are available from September through to January, so you have plenty of time to experiment with these delicious fruits.

Health Benefits
Quinces are an excellent source of Vitamin A, fiber, and iron. They also contain a high level of pectin just as other fruits in the pome family. Being rich in dietary fiber, quince is good for the people who are trying to lose weight. Quince also boasts of high antioxidant properties, which helps the body fight against free radicals and reduces the risk of cancer. Consuming quinces regularly not only aids in digestion, but also helps lower cholesterol. Vitamin C present in quince helps reduce the risk of heart disease in individuals. So make sure you indulge in plenty of quinces this season to get the maximum of its health benefits. Preserve them to enjoy them further after the season.

Selecting and Storing
Select fruit that are large, firm, and yellow with little or no green patches. Quinces should be picked when completely yellow and firm. Be sure to handle them carefully as they bruise easily.
The best way to store quinces is to wrap them in a plastic bag and refrigerate them, where they should last for up to 2 months.

Preparation
Due to their high pectin content, they are popular for use in jams, jellies, and preserves. Since quince hold their shape, they are ideal for poaching, stewing, or baking as a dessert. But there are other way and ideas to use quinces. You could simply substitute a recipe which uses pears or apples with quince instead or serve cooked quince in your fruit compotes.

In this recipe I have prepared the jam in a very different method. Last year I got a recipe for plum jam from Tom's grandmother, which required the jam to cook for two hours over the stove top. I basically stuck to that idea but as I wanted to be busy doing my yoga and a few other things I decided to allow the quince jam to simmer in the oven for the two hours, where I had to keep an eye on it a lot less. It proved to be an ingenious plan and the result was an intensely caramelized and gorgeously thick quince jam that perfumed the entire house with it's cinnamon-y aromas.

 

Caramelized Quince Jam with a Sprinkling of Cinnamon

Printable version of recipe here.

Ingredients

2 kg quince, washed, peeled, cored and cut into cubes.
350 ml apple cider
4 tablespoons apple vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, ground
250g Muscovado sugar or substitute with blond cane sugar

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 - 180 degrees C.

  2. Place quince cubes in a large pot and fill with apple cider. Covered, allow it to simmer for approx. 30-40 minutes until the quince is soft, occasionally stirring. Using a pureeing machine finely puree until smooth.  

  3. Stir in the cinnamon, apple vinegar and sugar. If the pot you are using can be placed in the oven, then wipe down the sides with some kitchen paper, otherwise transfer the mixture into an oven-proof bowl.

  4. Place the bowl on a baking tray and allow to cook in the oven for 2 hours, until the mixture has caramelized, is very thick and a deep orange color.

  5. Allow to cool then, pour the thick jam in sterilized jars. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 months. 

Food Guide

Have a browse through my Food Guide section on the sidebar. You’ll find several brilliant tips, tricks, know-hows and food facts.

You’ll find exciting tips for making perfect macarons, luscious éclairs  or how to make your own homemade quark.

Want to know how to store and select a persimmon or the different variety of figs or what butter oil is? The Food Guide will reveal all!

  


Verdict

Quince Cinnamon Jam (02) by MeetaK 

This is probably an unconventional way of making quince jam, but the results it produces is so delicious. It can be used for your usual breakfast fare, to add a bit of flair to toast, pancakes or waffles, but it is absolutely great filled in puff pastry packets or in muffins too. Or even better serve some of this with a cheese platter at your next dinner party. It'll be hard to resist not spooning it straight out of the jar and into your mouths though because that fantastic caramel-y and cinnamon-y flavor will have you weak.

You might like these fruity spreads from WFLH:

Pear Cranberry Chutney Spiced with Star Anise Mirabelle Silver Edge Lavender Preserve Spicy Raspberry Jam

 

Monthly Mingle Reminder

I would like to invite you all to a fantastic party this mingle. Come and join me for a grand Brunch. I’ve already got so many scrumptious creations so don’t miss the party!

Make your favorite brunch recipes and bring send your creations to me by November 16th.

See you there!

 

 DTtip6 

Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:

Vegetarian Pyramid Series - Seitan written by Dhivya

 

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

39 comments :

  1. Quince jam looks soo tempting and ur pics are gorgeous looking as usual :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I rememeber watching the news as the "wall" fell; seems like yesterday.

    Your jam loks gorgeous Meeta; and yes, i too have recently fallen in love with quince :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a beautiful post Meeta! really! I was all of 10 whe it happened...all i know about it is only from my dad who travelled a lot to germany in those days. I remember him telling the pieces of the wall were sold as souvenirs later!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I grew up with Quince jam, but haven't had it in a long time. I like the idea of making a puree type jam!!!Yum!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank God the wall came down Meeta...gosh, else we would have never met eh? I love posts with memories & connections...beautiful!Still trying to figure out if we get quince here. Will look at similar fruit more closely in the bazaar. Love your ingenuity with placing them in the oven. U rock yoga girl!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. My parents lived in Germany (west) for a long time and my brother spent his childhood there. I grew up hearing stories about people in East Berlin trying to cross over etc.

    I can also so relate to the different upbringing issue... S and I are also as different as can be... our worlds are so different as are our priorities. But yet, we find strength in one another.

    :) This does look like a fruit I've seen here... like a chinese pear :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Never seen quince.The jam is gorgeous.Love the post.I agree with you,most of the times we overlook simple and small things,once they are absent then only we will be missing them and appreciating them.I too remember reading/watching about how the wall fell.Can't believe its 20 years.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A very beautiful post. I got goose bumps reading it. It's so amazing how your worlds have come together after all that history! Beautiful pics as always!

    ReplyDelete
  9. this looks really good. I just made a marmalade myself.. I wish I can find quince here..

    ReplyDelete
  10. thanks everyone for your comments. i am enjoying reading what everyone did during the time the wall came down. so many memories and i can't believe it's been 20 years! glad you all are liking this jam. it's fantastic and if you wait a few more weeks i'll show you another cool way you can use it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've yet to have a quince, but it looks like a good one to experiment with. The jam sounds wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great post. I just love the way you have described the fruit. Lovely.

    Jam looks so yummmmmmy!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm a bit like you - raised in the US with whatever I wanted (we were far from rich, but you know what I mean) and married to a man raised by parents whose families lost everything they owned not once but twice: WWI and WWII. So they didn't have everything and learned to really appreciate each crust of bread and piece of meat. We all learn and we all teach.

    I am just discovering quince and this may be a recipe I can do well! It looks scrumptious!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love the jam and cinnamon makes everything better!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've never tried quince and never made jam! Maybe, its time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Quinces are so versatile and taste really good! That jam is marvelous!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  17. Although I have never tasted or saw what Quince would be like,the jam looks divine!It looks like apple butter :P

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was a toddler when the wall fell. But I remember learning about it in school years later. I've never tasted quince before, and was never really interested in it, but after seeing your pics I'm suddenly eager to buy some quince. Your jam looks lovely :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Meeta thanks for all that info on quince. Ive always been curious about the fruit when I heard people talk of it but didn't bother with too much research. I finally know enough about it now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I visited Berlin in 2007 and felt quite emotional while standing next to what is left from the wall.

    Meeta, what a thick, delicious jam! Homemade jam is the best.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Meeta,
    No comments about the German part of the post :), but the jam looks delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Meeta, here in Italy I believe they are called Mele Cotogne. I saw them all over a month ago and wasn't sure what to do with them. I found a few recipes, and now I can't find them anywhere.

    Your jam looks wonderful and if I find them again I think I'll try it out.

    Of Course your photos are stunning as always!

    ReplyDelete
  23. 20 years back.. we were school kids! Yes I remember seeing the "wall" fall as we all gathered in front the TV.

    I haven't cooked with Quince much. your pictures look so good that it makes me want to go and try it. e

    ReplyDelete
  24. Stellar spread and wonderful sentiments.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yes! The Wall fell 20 years ago but yet in many parts of the world there are still so many walls that need to come crumbling down - especially the hidden and virtual walls that promote racism, sexism, inequality etc etc. Love your post Meeta and it sings loud with my political side. I spent some time in Germany and have been to Munchen, Frankfurt, Hanover, Dachau but never to Berlin. I loved Germany and in my heart I think 'Ich bin ein Deutschlander' although really an Auslander!

    The quince looks lovely...

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love quince jam and this look amazing! gloria

    ReplyDelete
  27. I worked in Zurich for some time and I have heard stories about the wall and also my boss is a German and she has narrated about the political scenario during 1960-1970s. Nice post Meeta!

    Thick gorgeous jam!

    ReplyDelete
  28. that is a lovely post meeta. loved reading it

    ReplyDelete
  29. A great read Meeta. I'm fairly new here and I always love reading a bit more about the person behind the blog, in this case, the person and their person. Great idea using the oven for jam, must try it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. i never grew up with quince, either... they should be widely available in austria, but we never had them at home except in the form of a special quince bread my gran used to make for christmas.
    i love the taste, especially in membrillo with a cheese plate - i think your jam would be a wonderful addition to a cheese board!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I cannot believe it's been 20 years since the wall fell. It's amazing how time flies; and at the same time, how much has changed! I was just a girl at the time, but I remember watching the news about it. As for quince, I have never had the pleasure of enjoying it. I think I need to seek some out and change that!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I was around a year old when the Berlin Wall fell so I obviously don't know what it was like then. But I did a school project on the re-unification of Germany when I was around 13.I read so many accounts of people who had lived through it. Husbands and wives, old friends and family who hadn't seen each other for years and their happiness at that was expressed in such beautiful words. It was such a touching experience. It completely changed the way I looked my friends and family. I never took them for granted after that.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Fantastic use of the quinces Meeta! I love the addition of cinnamon and the apple cider. And a great post covering the reunification through your eyes...

    ReplyDelete
  34. I can still remember the wall coming down quite vividly. I even went to the Pink Floyd concert "The Wall" which was held in Berlin shortly after the wall came down. It was weird walking in that form DDR area, as everything was pretty much the same as it had been at that point in time... and going through checkpoint Charlie was.... special in a way.
    I can also still remember when we were on holiday in Greece that same year and in our hotel we had two women at our table who were very quiet. We soon found out that they came from the DDR and where overwhelmed still with the freedom they now had and the places they could visit.
    And to think that it's already 20 years!! Hmmm, that does mean I am getting old right? Loved your story Meeta and the quince ofcourse...lol

    ReplyDelete
  35. I remember East Germany and when the wall came down vividly. I loved your words about perceptions. I think that is not uncommon, and it's interesting how different a perspective can be when you are immersed in something!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wow it sounds delicious and perfect for autumn. Love the colour too

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have a confession to make, I have never had quince in my life. And now that that's out I must say that your pictures are making me want to get some right now and try this jam :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Beautiful post Meeta....quince jam looks perfect.....I think 've seen this in India....not very sure though...
    and thanks for dropping by my blog ...

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have some cinnamon bread that is screaming for this lovely jam to go on top of.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta