Welcome to what I plan to be a regular feature on Thirteen Plums called, Sundays with Little Mom. And it’s just that, spending a Sunday with my mom, cooking, learning and laughing together. My mom is one of my favorite people on the planet she’s hilarious, smart, an amazing cook and loves me unconditionally even though I was a jerk to her while going through my teen angst phase. Trust me, I apologized later in life for that.
These days for whatever reason, life seems to be going by too fast and unless I make time for the ones I love, I just end up filling my schedule with other stuff. So in my attempt to slow things down and create lasting memories, I’ll be spending more Sundays with my Little Mom. I call her Little Mom because it baffles me that all sorts of amazing can exist in just one person. She has a heart of gold and a smile that makes you feel like anything is possible.
And that’s Little Mom and I!
So last Sunday we made Quince Preserves together. Quince is a pretty interesting fruit in that cooking the fruit is what makes it palatable and so delicious. You just don’t bite into a quince, it has a tough texture and doesn’t taste good. They kind of look like a pear and an apple and there’s a sort of fuzzy layer to them like a peach. What I found intriguing is that once you slough off the fuzzy layer, the outer skin has an oily consistency and the seeds have an oily coating. My mom actually reserves the seeds for later to make a cough syrup. She lets the seeds sit in water overnight and then that liquid becomes more of a thick syrup to drink and soothe a cough. Oh the things you learn in the kitchen with Little Mom.
Preparing for this recipe I thought what we were making was a jam, but researching further I found that what we made were preserves. Jam is made from fruit cooked with sugar and served as a puree or a soft pulp and preserves are chunks or slices of fruit cooked with sugar suspended in a syrup base. Isn’t that a fun fact?
Now let’s get down to this recipe. It’s not difficult, the most time consuming part is prepping the fruit. While my mom and I were cutting the fruit and debating cooking times we also caught up on life over cups of tea. And to myself I thought, “This is exactly what I imagined: time in the kitchen with my Little Mom.” It seems so simple, but sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring the greatest joy.
Makes 63 ounces or almost 4 pints
- 10 1/2 cups water
- 8 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup rose water (optional)
- 9 Quince, about 4 pounds peeled, cored and sliced thin
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- In a large pot bring the water, sugar and rose water (optional) to a slow and steady boil over medium heat. Let cook for 1-2 hours depending on the consistency you prefer your syrup. I like the syrup to be thick so I let the sugar and water cook for 2 hours.
- Add the sliced quince, lemon juice and zest and cook for 1-3 hours over medium heat depending on the consistency and color you desire. If you prefer to have a more chewy consistency to the fruit and the color to have a pinkish hue ( Little Mom’s preference) then only for 1 hour uncovered and then you’re done. I prefer to have a richer red color so, after 1 hour we took out her portion and then I let the rest of the preserves cook for another 2 hours covered. Occasionally stir the mixture, making sure all the fruit is incorporated evenly.
- Ladle the preserves into jars and enjoy for months to come on hot buttered toast or mixed in with some plain yoghurt as a dessert.
**There are a lot of tips out there regarding sterilizing jars for canning etc. I personally didn’t do that, but here’s great step-by-step method.