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Quince: How to can your own homemade quince - canned quince: complete, easy directions with photos

How to Make Homemade Canned Quince

Click here for a PDF print version!

quinceIt's easy to can your own quince! Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. In the winter when you open a jar, the quince will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store, and by selecting the right fruit, it will use less sugar than store-bought canned quince. Quince can be packed in very light, light or medium sugar syrup. They can also be packed in water, apple juice or white grape juice.

Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of about 12 to 18 months, and aside from storing in a cool, dark place, require no special attention.

You might also be interested in making quince butter; just use the pear butter recipe!  Or Quince preserves / jam.

Directions for Making Canned Quince

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Fruit (see step 1)
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Lid lifter (I like the lid rack that holds 12 lids or you can pull them out one at a time with the lid-lifter that has a magnet from the almost-boiling water where you sanitize them. ($4 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
  • Jar funnel ($4 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
  • At least 1 large pot
  • Large spoons and ladles,
  • Canning jars (often called Ball jars, Mason jars or Kerr jars) (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - now about $12 per dozen quart jars (up 50% in 2 years!) including the lids and rings)
  • Sugar (or fruit juice, or Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, , or just water!)
  • 1 water bath canner (a huge pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars of quince after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates) You CAN use a large pot instead, but the canners are deeper, and have a rack top make lifting the jars out easier. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.

Recipe and Directions

Step 1 - Selecting the quince

The most important step!  You need quince that are sweet, and ripe.  A little known fact: like pears, Quince are picked unripe - they don't ripen well on the tree. So, unlike peaches, or apples quince WILL ripen at home! Proper ripeness of quince at canning time is important to the quality
of the product; as it affects color, flavor, aroma, and over-all quality of finished product

Choose ripe, mature fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking. They should not be mushy, but they also should not be rock hard: just as ripe as you would eat them fresh. If they are to be transported or not processed immediately, pick while slightly green and allow them to ripen in a cool, dark place.

Store fresh quince in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Step 2 - How many quince and where to get them

An average of 171/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 50 pounds and yields 16 to 25 quarts - an average of 21/2 pounds per quart.   A pound of quince yields 2 cups of sliced quince.

You can pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store.  But for large quantities, you will find that real* farmer's markets, like the Farmer's Market in Forest Park, Georgia have them at the best prices. 

* - not the cutesy, fake farmer's markets that are just warehouse grocery stores that call themselves farmer's markets.

Step 3 - Prepare the sugar (or other sweetener) solution

Quince must be packed in a solution of water and sugar or fruit juice.  It's up to you which to use.  Sugar is added to improve flavor, help stabilize color, and retain the shape of the fruit. It is not added as a preservative. Sugar solution is much less expensive (unless you have a supply of cheap grape juice), so I usually use a light solution to keep sugar (and the added calories) to a minimum.

Sugar Syrup
Syrup Sugar Water Yield
Light 2 cups 6 cups 7 cups
Medium 3 cups 6 cups 6 1/2 cups
Heavy 4 cups 6 cups 7 cups
NOTE: you can ALSO use fruit juice (if you want a natural alternative; white grape juice or apple juice are ideal) or water or artificial sweetener (Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, , but NOT Nutrasweet; if you want a low calorie alternative).  click here for instruction about how to prepare these sugarless, fruit juice, or Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, solutions!

To prepare syrup, while heating water, add sugar slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Bring to a gentle boil. Fill jars while syrup is still boiling hot. After preparing the liquid syrup, keep it hot (but not boiling).

Step 4 - Wash the jars and lids

Sanitizing ("sterilizing") jars in a dishwasher on hot or sanitize cycleThis is a good time to get the jars ready! The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.




Step 5 -Wash the quince!

I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the quince in plain cold or lukewarm water


Step 6 - Peel and cut up the quince

Peel quince just like you would a potato or an apple. Cut lengthwise in halves and remove the core (it has seeds just like an apple). A melon baller or metal measuring spoon is perfect for coring quince.

Cut out any brown spots and mushy areas. Cut the quince in half, or quarters or slices, as you prefer! Remove pits!

Step 7 - Prevent the fruit from darkening!

Fruit fresh or lemon juice to prevent browningNow, to keep the fruit from turning brown, when you get a bowlful, sprinkle 1/4 cup lemon juice or Fruit-Fresh (which is just a mix of citric acid and vitamin C, perfectly natural).  Then stir the quince to make sure all the surfaces have been coated.

Here's a tip from another visitor.  I haven't tried it yet, but it's worth a try, if you are having problems with quince turning pink:

"I just canned them last week and the water bath produced nice white quince, but the pressure canner turned them pink. I had never seen that before, glad to see from your instructions that the quince are ok. Suggestion for keeping quince from turning brown from an old Farm Journal Freezing and Canning cookbook: After peeling, coring, etc. the quince, drop them in a solution of 2 tblsp. each of salt and vinegar to 1 gal. water. Drain before packing jars or putting into syrup for hot pack. Used this method many times and always produced nice quince. Thanks again for the information. " 

Step 8 - For a Hot Pack

Hot packing is recommended for all fruits because it is a bit safer and makes fruit easier to pack in jars. Raw packs also make poor quality quince.  Hot packed quince are less likely to float than quince canned by the raw-pack method. Just put the cut quince into the boiling syrup solution for 5 minutes. (If you want to use the "cold pack" or "raw pack" method, just skip this step!)




Step 9 - Fill the jars

Pack the quince into sanitized jars (leaving 1/2 inch space at the top) and cover with boiling sugar syrup leaving 1/2 inch head space. (If you don't cook or heat the quince first, this is called "cold packing"). Run a rubber spatula or table knife gently between quince and jar to release trapped air bubbles. To do this more effectively, tilt the jar slightly while running the tool between the fruit and the edge of the jar and also pressing inward against the fruit a few times.

After packing the quince in the jar, pour the sugar solution up to 1/2 inch (1 cm) from the top.  the fruit should be covered completely. Wipe rim and screw threads with a clean damp cloth. Add lid, screw band and tighten firmly and evenly. Do not over tighten.


Canned fruits often will float if the sugar syrup is too heavy, if jars are packed too loosely or if air remains in the tissues of the fruit after processing. To avoid this use a light or medium sugar syrup, make sure fruit is firm and ripe and pack fruit tightly in jars without crushing.

If fruit is not covered by liquid it may darken during storage (but does not necessarily mean it is spoiled, as all fruits will darken somewhat). To avoid this be sure fruit is covered by removing air bubbles from jars liquid while still leaving the recommended head space. Also be sure to remove trapped air bubbles as described earlier.

Quince, pears and apples may also show a blue, red or pink color change after canning. This is the result of natural chemical changes that sometimes occur as fruits are heated. It is harmless and won't affect flavor!

Also, avoid storing canned food near heat sources such as a furnace, water heater, hot water or sunny areas. Jars need to be kept cool and dark for longer storage life and to protect against spoilage. Be sure to store in a dry place. If the lid or band rusts, that can cause the seal to break.


Step 11 - Process the jars in the water bath (or pressure canner)

You can "can" quince in either a water bath or pressure canner.

Water bath canner: Put the sealed jars in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. Boil them for at least 20 minutes (and no more than 30 min).


Water Bath Times. Recommended process time for Quince, halved or sliced in a boiling-water canner, using a hot pack in pints or quart jars.
(this is taken from the NCHFP's Pear Jam processing table)

Process Time at Altitudes of
Jar size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
20 min 25 30 35
quarts 25 min 30 35 40

Pressure Canning: Processing directions for canning quince in a dial, or a weighted-gauge canner are given in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3. 

Table 2. Process Times for Quince, halved or sliced in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner.
(this is taken from the NCHFP's Pear Jam processing table)

  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 10 minutes 6 psi 7 psi 8 psi 9 psi


Table 3. Process Times for Halved or sliced Quince in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner.
Using a Hot Pack
(this is taken from the NCHFP's Pear Jam processing table)

  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Pints or Quarts 10 5 10


Step 12 - Remove and cool

canned_pearsLift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight), here they won't be bumped. You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.

Canned quince and quince nectar will maintain quality best when stored up to 66 months at 40/F, 40 months at 70/F, or 15 months at 90/F.

If you'd rather dry or freeze quince, let me know; I'm working on those directions. Dried quince can be stored up to 24 months at 40/F, 3 months at 70/F, or 1 month at 90/F. Well packaged frozen quince will keep up to 18 months. 







Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs 
            helpful to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter
            - to remove lids from the pot 
            of hot water 
  3. Lids
           - disposable - you may only 
           use them once
  4. Ring 
          - holds the lids on the jar until after
          the jars cool - then you remove them, save them and reuse them
  5. Canning Jar funnel
          - to fill the jars


Frequently asked questions!



Home Canning Kits

See the seller's website for features, pricing and user reviews!

This is the same type of  standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from pears to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need: the canner, jar rack, Jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. You will never need anything else except more jars and lids!

Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker

D220-DLXRetail, usually around $89.95


Store 1: See this page for more information, reviews, descriptions of other strainers and supplies or to order!

Store 2: Click on the link below: