Pickled Quince

I hope you all had a good weekend, whether working, playing, resting, drinking, eating, or any of the other possibilities.  It rained heavily here for most of yesterday, which gave us the perfect excuse to get cosy indoors with Judy Delpy, Bill Murray, and a spiced roast with lots and lots of sides.  And when an unexpected touch of cabin fever did set in, the clouds miraculously parted and the sunshine beamed, drying up the beach up so that we could go and have a ten minute break, gazing at the waves.

One of the things that sat at our Sunday lunch table was a little bowl containing slices of pickled quince. A big display of the appealing, bright yellow fruit has been brightening up the produce section at the grocery shop up the road from us for a couple of weeks, and after a couple of gentle hints from B, we finally took home a bagful.  I’ve got intentions to use some of them in a dessert, but I also wanted to try pickling a couple.  I love pickley flavours, and I thought that the flesh of the quince would make an excellent carrier.  Extremely solid when raw, but meltingly soft once cooked, quince is a bit of a fruity sensation in my book.  Its flavour is more subtle than you might think, considering the fragrance, which can sway towards tutti-fruitti, and the colour, which peaks at neon.  I looked at a couple of recipes, and ended up being most influenced by Nigel Slaters’, but I went easier on the sugar and heavier on the spices.  The result, sharp and aromatic, may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was good for me, especially well matched to cut through some rich, fatty meat or a bit of flavoursome cheese.




2 large quince (about 450g or so), peeled, cored, and cut into wedges

400ml cider vinegar

150g golden caster sugar

10g dried cranberries

10 juniper berries

10 black peppercorns, bashed a little with a pestle & mortar

15 allspice berries

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

2 cardamom pods




Bring the vinegar, sugar, and spices to the boil, then reduce heat and chuck in the cranberries and quince slices.  Simmer for about thirty minutes, or until tender, then pour into sterilised jars.

Pickled Quince


  1. I like “pickley” flavors too 🙂
    I tried quince paste for the first time last week! It was part of a cheese and bread plate. I enjoyed it very much!

    1. Is that membrillo? I’ve never had it, but bet I’d like it!

      1. I had to go look up membrillo! And yes, it was quite like that. I’m not sure if ours was locally made or what. I was in a little spot called “Wine Down” in West Reading, PA. They have delicious treats (and wine)!

  2. So fabulous! I haven’t been able to find quince since I first had it in Lithuania. I hope to have it again some day – such a great looking recipe here!

    1. Ah yes, I think I remember you saying this when I posted a quince recipe before! I love them. Did you eat quince in a sweet or savoury dish in Lithuania?

      1. It was made into wine, actually! We had them on salads, as well. Quite delicious!

      2. Ooh, quince wine? Nice! We actually have some quince liqueur here waiting for the right moment to be opened…

  3. I love this recipe and make something like it (also based on Nigel Slater) every year when the quinces on my tree have been harvested. Perfect with roast pork, poultry. Although, I have to admit that I prefer membrillio with cheese – especially gorgonzola.

    1. You’re up North, aren’t you? Does your tree do well in that climate? And does it give you the big quinces or the small, roundish ones? I’d love to have a quince tree (or any fruit tree, for that matter) to call my own! I must try membrillo some time…

      1. Yes! I’m in Sheffield and the tree I got was through a nursery in (?) Lincolnshire many years ago now. The place specialised in trees for the N of England, but I’m afraid I can’t remember the name. The tree is also “fan-shaped” so I can grow it against the garden wall – limited space in an urban garden! It provides a fairly good crop, but not as well as a tree left to its own devices would produce. The variety is called Meeches Prolific and they are the largish pear-shaped ones. The small round ones generally grow on Japanese quince shrubs which have absolutely beautiful flowers and do produce edible quinces.

    2. Aha, when I was a child growing up we had one of the Japanese quince shrubs. Underused but very pretty and fragrant!

      1. There’s a photo of some of my freshly picked quinces in my post on membrillo – https://americanfoodieabroad.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/ambrosia/

  4. Looks great. I love quince and use it a lot both in sweet and savory dishes. So this for sure is now on my “to do list” once quince season will be back here! 🙂

  5. Gosh, you do like quince (as in Related posts). I’ve only ever seen them, and never knew what to do with them. Now I know where to look for ideas!
    And you live by the coast. Funny, thought you were in London for some reason.

    1. I love the things. Got some in the fruit bowl as I type. I’m not far from London – live in Brighton! And, do you work shifts or are you an insomniac? Or neither?

  6. This really looks amazing! I had never really hard of a very sweet and spicy pickle using berries. Do you think this wound work with pears? Very cool! I Shoukd check out that book.

    1. My version is more sharp and spicey, but I think the recipe I give the link to at the top would be much more on the sweet side. And I definitely think it would work with pears, great idea!

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