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quince applesauce

(recipe, Sarah Gilbert)

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Quinces made their first appearance in my kitchen last year, but this year has proven that, with food, a deep love cannot be developed until one's second season with an ingredient. This year, my affection for quinces is abiding, overwhelming, all-encompassing. I'd already realized how fantastically rich in pectin are quinces, and made a half-cup of concentrated juice for future preserving when I read Deborah Madison's illuminating piece about quince syrup. I must have some!, I thought, and as I had a few bowls full of quinces and apples desperately near spoilage, I set to work on a quince applesauce inspired by the essay. I have no pressure cooker, however, nor an evening that left room for close attention, and therefore did not yield the quart of juice she did; I poured off about 1/2 cup of (beautiful) pink juice. No matter. I had a few quarts of delicious, lovely pink sauce, perfect for inclusion in the food basket I had in mind for Christmas gifts for friends and family.


  1. 2 to 4 lb. whole quinces
  2. 2 to 3 lb. whole apples
  3. 2 cups water
  4. ½ cup maple syrup (optional)
  5. 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract, or, the seeds from ½ vanilla bean


  1. Wash the quinces and apples well, and cut into chunks. Leave in the cores and seeds, but cut out bruised portions, stems, and the blossom end of the fruits.
  2. Place in a large pot with a lid, along with the water. You'll know when you have enough fruit when your pot is so full you can barely get the lid to stay on.
  3. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to moisten all the fruit; reduce heat to low.
  4. Leaving the lid a bit ajar, cook for a few hours, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is very soft and the liquid is nearly all absorbed.
  5. Remove from heat and scoop the fruit into a food mill.
  6. Puree, and then taste. Add maple syrup (or honey or sugar) until sauce is at desired sweetness. Add in vanilla.
  7. If your sauce has cooled down significantly, return to pot and bring to simmer again.
  8. Ladle into clean canning jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.
  9. Process at 180-200 degrees 10 minutes for ½ pints and 15 minutes for pints.