The Quince Caper


I love having this blog because through it I get to meet new people, people who cook and are passionate about food.

A few months ago I received a comment and email from Kristie Vetterli. She referred me to her web site and the next thing you know, we were corresponding. We talked about how much we enjoyed putting up preserves. She told me that she had a huge quince tree. Would I like some of those quince?? I looked at her website and saw brick red quince membrillo that she had made. Most quince take forever to achieve that color. Some never do. So I jumped at the offer and we then arranged a rendezvous for a culinary exchange. I would get a dozen of her quince and in return she would get a jar of my plum mostarda, my Moroccan cherry tomato conserve and a nectarine chutney. Such a deal.   We met in the lobby of Oakland childrens Hospital where she works  and made the exchange.

The next day I set about making quince mostarda.  I peeled the quince,removed the seeds and cores and put all of the debris into a pot and covered it with water. I simmered this for an hour to make sort of a tea, as much of the pectin in quince is in the peel and seeds.

I then cut up the quince into one inch pieces and put them in my canning pot along with the quince peel tea and some sugar. I added some thinly sliced Buddha’s Hand citron, and some strips of  cinnamon bark and cardamom my son had brought me from his vacation in Kerala   To get that gorgeous red color I simmered the mixture on and off for two days, until the quince was tender and had turned a wonderful shade of terra cotta.  After sterilizing my jars and boiling the lids, I tasted the mixture and then, as the piece de resistance,  added 10 drops of spicy mustard oil from Italy.  ( A friend had brought it back from his last trip to Italy where the oil is used in making the traditional mostarda di frutta but as it is a liquid and somewhat volatile it is not suppsed to be brought into the US where the folks at customt do not know from mostarda di frutta, only imaginary mustard gas) 

I packed my twelve jars of quince mostarda and simmered them for 10 minutes in the required hot  water bath.  I added some labels I broughr from Il Papiro in Venice.  The job was done.

Naturally I brought a jar to my friend who gave me the oil. I also brought a jar to Mike and Lindsay Tusk at Quince restaurant. It seemed only right.

I imagine that next fall Kristie and I will do the quince exchange again.

Joyce Goldstein’s Moroccan Inspired Sweet and Hot Tomato Jam 


I have been making this cherry tomato jam since 1985. It is a variation of a cherry tomato conserve I have made every year since since 1968. The original recipe comes from Catherine Plagemann’s book Fine Preserving.  I added the Moroccan seasoning so we could serve this with Square One Restaurant’s  Moroccan mixed grills. This is great with grilled or roast chicken, roast turkey, lamb chops or kebabs, or drizzled on grilled eggplant. A dollop of this jam spooned on top of goat cheese spread on slices of toasted walnut bread is what we served at the CUESA event.  Serve warm or at room temperature.   yield -4-5 pints


1/2 pound fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced thin across the grain

1 cup cider vinegar

2 quarts cherry tomatoes, washed and stemmed ( 4 pint containers)

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups granulated white sugar

2 large juicy lemons, sliced paper thin on a mandoline, slices cut into eighths  

3/4 cup water 

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon ground toasted cumin seed

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In the container of a food processor or blender, grind the ginger and spices with the vinegar. Put into a deep heavy saucepan ( I use a large enamel covered cast iron pot like Le Creuset) along with the cherry tomatoes, the sugars, the sliced lemons and the water. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat for about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook the mixture until it is thick. Stir often to prevent scorching. Season with more salt to taste. Pack in sterilized canning jars and process 15 minutes in hot water bath or put in containers and store  in the refrigerator. Can keep for up to a year in the refrigerator and up to 4 years in canning jars.  



5 thoughts on “The Quince Caper

  1. Hi Joyce, I’m an old fan of yours and Square One. Just found your blog and enjoying it alot. I restored an old place in Italy and opened a hotel and make a zillion perserves and lots of other stuff… the Quince caper caught my eye and I wanted to pass this on to you. I make loads of Quince perserves of various kinds each year here while Quince are in season. I always cook them in white wine and sugar and within about oh, I would say, 3 to 4 hours I have the most amazing color of claret! I have never cooked them withOUT white wine and I have never had any issue with achieving that wonderful red color. Over the course of the year they turn more and more that brick red color you talked about.

    Thought I would just drop you a line and suggest try cooking a part of your next batch of Quince preserves with white wine instead of water and see if you get the same great and fast results with achieving the color as I do.


  2. Really interesting blog post. Your article is very interesting. I enjoyed this blog post. This blog post is good! I have to say that after continually reading bad as in, same old material, little quality content, etc. article posts on other sites, it’s enjoyable to actually read something that has some thought put into it. It’s a pleasure to read quality content, especially after continually seeing rehashed %$!# that writers and bloggers are putting out nowadays. It’s always nice when I come across content that actually has value, I’ve been seeing a ton of subpar writing attempts recently. Anyhow, thanks again and I’ll check back often to see what else you have to offer. I’ll check back in the future to see what else you have up your sleeve. Keep up the wonderful work! BTW, I like your site design, but your header image was only loading half way for me. P.S. Your header is messed up a bit in IE. The problem could be on my end but I thought you might want to look into that.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s