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July preserve: quince and chamomile jam

July preserve: quince and chamomile jam

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ALECIA WOOD describes how to add chamomile blossoms to quince for a wintry jam with a twist.

The cooler months bring a bounty of quince, that golden yellow fruit typically served as a paste to accompany cheese platters.

“I love that I can use them for both savoury and sweet dishes,” says Matt Rothman, owner of artisanal preserve business Hands Lane. The Sydney-based company started just two years ago, now supplying a range of local specialty cafés with their tomato chutney, Seville orange marmalade, apricot and almond jam and mixed berry jam. 

While working at Sydney’s Single Origin Roasters café, Rothman started creating his own preserves in the kitchen by the rear laneway – hence Hands Lane was born. His focus on locally sourced, seasonal produce informs his range of products, made in single batches once a year when the produce is at its peak.

His background in hospitality created an interest in using coffee and tea in foods in unexpected ways. “Here, the chamomile blossoms accentuate the floral flavours of the quince,” says Rothman, adding that chamomile flowers are a variety of daisy plant that typically grows at the base of quince trees, so it’s a natural pairing. “I’m drawn to quince because they seem a little odd – I like a twist in my food.”

Try this jam on scones or with a sponge cake for afternoon tea, or served with a slow-roasted pork belly dish.

Hands Lane’s Quince & Chamomile Jam

  • 7 cups of quince, peeled, cored and chopped 
  • 8 cups of water 
  • 3 cups of sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers (blossoms found in chamomile tea) 
  • juice of 1 lemon

Scrub the fuzz off the fruit under a cool, running tap. Dry the fruit and cut into quarters. Remove the core from each piece and then take the skin off each piece using a serrated peeler. 

Chop into pieces and place in a large non-reactive pan, adding the lemon juice and mixing to coat the fruit in the juice. This will prevent the fruit from browning.

Add water, sugar and chamomile flowers to the pot and bring to a full boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to medium-high and stir frequently to keep from burning.

Once the fruit has begun to break down and turn somewhat translucent, use a potato masher to crush the fruit into smaller pieces.

Cook the mixture until it falls off a spoon in sheets, and ladle into hot, sterilised jars, leaving a gap at the top of the jar. Place the lids on tightly, making sure to give them a good wipe afterwards to remove any spillage.

Allow the jars to cool at room temperature then store them in the fridge. These will keep for three months. If you’d like to store your jam for longer, place the jars in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the jars to a boil for at least 10 minutes. These will keep for 12 months unopened in the pantry.