Quince Blood Orange Coriander Syrup

When I gave up my nagging addiction to Diet Coke last fall, I needed some good replacement strategies. A tall glass of fizzy water with a splash of homemade fruit syrup has been one of the most enjoyable. (We love our SodaStream fizzy water maker, by the way. No more endless, expensive cases of bottled sparkling water around here.)

Surprisingly, however, I’ve found that syrup making isn’t always easy. I’ve made so many syrups by accident — failed marmalades or jellies — that I thought making syrup on purpose would be a snap. But so far I’ve made some that are too sweet and some that are sludgy, some that are too thin and some that don’t have the balance of flavors I was hoping for. Everything takes practice! Luckily, pretty much everything is also drinkable — especially if it’s evening and you add a splash of gin or vodka.

Anyway, after two tries and some good advice about using fresh blood orange juice instead of cooked — because cooking makes blood orange juice bitter, not better — this small batch of syrup worked out very well. And, oh, the color! I wanted to write it down here to share it and also so I won’t forget what I did.

Quince Blood Orange Coriander Syrup

2 cups quince juice
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
1 cup fresh blood orange juice (from 5-6 oranges)

I have about two gallons of quince juice in my freezer from last fall, so the first ingredient was no problem. If you don’t have an endless supply of quince juice at hand, the process of making it is described in this post.  (It’s actually a great thing to make ahead and keep frozen for marmalades, jellies, and syrups.) Take the quince juice and put it in a saucepan with two cups of sugar. (The saucepan should be a little bigger than you think it needs to be because the mixture will foam up.) Then crack at least a teaspoon of coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle and add the coriander to the saucepan, too. Heat the mixture slowly to dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally, then bring it to a simmer for 8 minutes. Stir in the fresh squeezed blood orange juice. Bring the mixture back to a simmer for 2 minutes more. Remove it from the heat, skim the foam, and strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve.

This recipe makes 3-4 cups of syrup. I keep mine in the fridge.

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  • Reply Julia January 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    In Boulder, only Whole Foods sells quinces and at $4 apiece. Plus, the quinces are not organic, which is what I prefer to preserves.

    What can I substitute for quince juice? Perhaps, water simmered with quartered Granny Smith apples?


  • Reply Shae January 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Hi Julia: The unique flavor of the quince juice makes this syrup special. I’d hesitate to recommend a substitution, though of course you can always experiment with flavors that appeal to you. I’m lucky to get a lot of homegrown quince here; it may be that this just isn’t the right recipe for folks in locations where quince isn’t plentiful.

  • Reply Shreela January 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I wish I had both these fruits right now! Hoping to see more syrups as you come up with them.

    • Reply Shae February 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks, Shreela. I hope to have more to share!

  • Reply Gloria January 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Whooo hoo! I’ve got all the ingredients for this, having bottled quince juice a few months ago. Syrups and cordials have become a must have in my house too.

    • Reply Shae February 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      I knew there would be a few oddballs like me who actually had the ingredients on hand for this! :-)

  • Reply Barbara February 1, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Wow. I have quince juice that I wasn’t sure what to do with. Will give your syrup a try. Thanks!

    • Reply Shae February 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      I should turn to you, the Queen of Quince, for ideas about what to do with my quince next year!

  • Reply Denise | Chez Danisse February 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I love my SodaStream, but usually just drink my fizzy water straight. Your syrup looks fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted or purchased a quince. I might change that to make the syrup you’ve shown us here. Do you know if quince are still in season?

    • Reply Shae February 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Denise: You must introduce yourself to quince sometime! I saw some at the farmer’s market a week ago, but they must be the very last of the season. You may yet find some. Otherwise, start to look sharp next October.

  • Reply Blood Orange Shrub | Food in Jars February 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

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  • Reply Amanda February 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    So you haven’t had any problems with the SodaStream? I was thinking of getting it for my husband because he drinks gallons of seltzer a week! I read mixed reviews and was afraid it was going to be more of a hassle with the gas cartridges, bottles, etc. than it was worth.
    Which model did you get if you don’t mind me asking?

  • Reply Shae February 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Amanda: We got ours for the very reason you mention. It just didn’t make sense to continue to buy cases of San Pellegrino water – that felt wasteful — so a couple years ago I got the SodaStream for Stewart for Christmas. We got the model I linked to in the post above, and we have been 100% happy with it. What makes it very convenient for us is that there is a store nearby where we can take our spent cartridges and exchange them for new ones. It couldn’t be easier. You can search on the SodaStream website to see if there’s an option like that near you.

  • Reply The Cozy Herbivore February 4, 2012 at 5:23 am

    I make syrups for my work, and like you, I’m often amazed at how hard they can be to get just perfect! Seems so simple, right?

    I love, love LOVE the combination of orange & coriander. This seems just the thing to stir into a little sparkling water and top off with some whiskey– like a smancy Old Fashioned!

    • Reply Shae February 10, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Sara, I wish I could take syrup making lessons from you! I so want to know how to do it well. Of course, as with preserves, there’s no one-stop method. All these fruits have their own personalities, don’t they? I’d love to see how you’d handle the Rangpur limes that have been challenging me. :-)

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