The Original (Quince) Marmalade

As I mentioned in my previous post about Seville oranges that the original marmalade was in fact made from quinces and not oranges, I thought I would give you a recipe that I have recently used for the stall. It’s a recipe that appears in Eliza Acton’s 1845 book Modern Cookery. It’s an easy recipe that would be a good one to start with if you have never made a sweet preserve as you don’t need to mess about with sugar thermometers and setting points. One of the great things about making preserves with quinces is the glorious colour they go. A relatively brief boil transforms them from a pale apple-yellow to a vibrant orange-coral.

The tricky thing is getting your hands on some quinces they are available from October, but I have recently seen some organic ones in the Manchester organic grocers Unicorn. If your local greengrocer doesn’t have them on their shelves, it is worth asking if they can get them. My grocer was very happy to get me a full tray for just a tenner, so I was very pleased with that.

I have recently found another slightly more complicated version of this recipe but I have not tried it – we’ll have to wait for next autumn for that one!

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Eliza Acton’s Quince Marmalade

2kg (4 1/2 lbs) quinces


granulated sugar

Wash and scrub any fluff of the quinces, then peel and core them. Place them in a large pan and pour over enough water to almost cover. Turn up the heat and when it begins to boil, turn heat down to a simmer and stew 35-45 minutes until the fruit is soft. Strain and pass fruit through a mouli-legumes.

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Put the pulp back in the pan with the strained juice and add 280g sugar for every 500ml juice or, 1 ½ lbs sugar for every pint of juice). Stir and dissolve under low heat then, simmer until it resembles ‘thick porridge’ and begins to leave the side of the pan when you stir it.

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Pour the marmalade into sterilised pots. It is very good as a jam on toast, with cheese or as an accompaniment to hot or cold meats.

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Filed under Britain, cooking, food, Fruit, General, history, Nineteenth Century, Preserving, Recipes, Uncategorized

26 responses to “The Original (Quince) Marmalade

  1. Kathryn Marsh

    Mrs Acton never fails to come up with the goods does she? The other one of her preserve recipes is that is an essential for me is her redcurrant jelly where you make it first and strain second. Only a few minutes work and perfect clear jelly every time. Though I do then sieve the pulp and use the results to sharpen and set raspberry jam


    • I love redcurrants. My mum’s neighbour had a giant bush that would poke out into our garden through the fence. Alas, new neighbours moved in and cut it down. Bad times. A Bramley’s seeding also went…


  2. Venus supermarket on Dickinson road have quinces every autumn. I’m making some quince and blood orange marmalade and quince cheese today.


    • This quince marmalade is not too far away from quince cheese. It’s funny that you’re doing blood orange curd, as I was planning to make some this week. Great minds think alike…?


      • I made quince and blood orange marmalade; it worked well. Blood Orange curd sounds nice; have you done it before?


      • I have not, but will be making it this afternoon. I hve been inventing new fruit curds. Can’t wait for gooseberry season!


      • The proc

        How did the blood orange recipe turn out? Do you have a recipe you are willing to share, please. I had a bumper crop of quince for the first time this year. so far I have made 7lbs of jelly, 12lbs of the above jam recipe and still have 3large glass bowls of fruit left. I am loving it all. I am taking some with me to a thanksgiving dinner today, as my British contribution to their feast.


      • I’ve made quince ratafia this autumn – it’s a quince liqueur made with brandy and spices. Not tried it yet, but will write a post as soon as I do.

        The blood orange curd recipe did work out very well. Not sure if I wrote down the recipe, if I find it, I’ll write a quick post on it….


  3. Tony Flanagan

    Portuguese still make Marmelada from Quinces. Its quite a dark very thick preserve. Goes delightfully as small cubes on toothpicks with matching cubes of blue cheese.


  4. Pingback: The Original Marmalade | Europas Traditional Home

  5. georginaferry

    I just noticed that the proportions of juice and sugar are wildly different in the imperial measurements you give versus the metric ones – around twice the amount of sugar with the imperial measurements! I have gone with the metric as 1.5 kg sugar to 4 kg quinces seemed about right – it’s on the stove now so hope it comes out ok. I have a quince tree and have tried jelly and membrillo before, so this looks like a nice compromise between the two!


  6. Claire

    I boil the quince whole for 10-15mins. Allow to cool and then peel and core them to use in any recipe…


  7. I have some ornamental quince bushes full of fruit and am proposing to try this now… I presume they’re okay for the job? Well, I’ll find out. I don’t understand why you strain out the pulp and then add it back in. Please can someone suggest why you do this?


    • Hi Daf – yes any Quince will work for this. You strain the pulp through a good sieve or a mouli-legumes so you can add back the pulp without the skins and pips etc. You could, of course, peel and core the fruit beforehand, but by doing that, you’re taking away a lot of pectin which gives it its texture. Also, quince do not break down into a foamy pulp like Bramley apples for example, so they require a pulverising. Old cook books give recipes with the quince cut into chunks and preserved without pulping them. I’ve not tried it, but I have 4 good-sized quinces in my fruit bowl right now, so might give it a go and report back to you…


      • Thanks for your timely reply! Next March might not have been quite so useful.. The recipe does say to peel and core the fruit, but I like the sound of not doing that. Will give it a go! Haven’t wrestled all the fruit of the bushes yet, but hope they come off soon. Thanks again!


      • It seems I can’t remember my own recipes! The straining is just so that the pulping of the fruit is less messy – plus you often get gritty particles in the quinces; milling them gets rid of that. Let me know how you get on


      • Hello again… Well, I made it! It looks a nice dark red colour which might be that it burned a bit on the bottom of the pan, when I got fed up with it not thickening and walked away from it for a while. My feeling is that if I don’t tell anyone that they won’t know as who knows what it’s supposed to taste like anyway? Haven’t actually tried it yet though. (Smells alright). Thanks for the encouragement!


      • Glad it’s gone well. Quince does take a dark red sometimes, so I am sure it’ll be delicious


  8. Just harvested 3 25kg sacks of quinces from my tree here in Chile… Followed this recipe but with grated ginger added. Perfect mermalada. Storing the rest of the quinces wrapped individually in newspaper for the winter (April is autumn here). It is common to eat slices of raw quince sprinkled with salt in Chile.


  9. Lesley

    Hi if you leave the peel on the quinces your jelly’ marmalade or Cotignac’as quince paste is called in France, will be a beautiful jewel red.

    Liked by 1 person

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