[Photographs: Emily Teel]

The holiday season is coming on fast this year. Perhaps it's the overlap of Hanukkah with Thanksgiving jump-starting the holiday vibes, but halfway through November we're not only talking turkey, but also party-throwing and the making and giving of gifts.

This rosy cranberry and quince chutney is appropriate for all of the above. It would make a natural part of your Thanksgiving spread, lightly spiced with the wintry flavors of cinnamon and clove and the bright acidity of cranberries and sunny tangerine, but it would also be perfect on the cheese board at your holiday open house.

Quince, that firm-fleshed, aromatic cousin of apples and pears, is the key ingredient in membrillo, the Spanish condiment traditionally eaten with manchego. Here, it softens but holds its shape where another of the pome fruit would dissolve into the mix. Plunk this handsome little preserve next to a wedge of any nutty, creamy or sharp cheese and you're got a sophisticated match.

If you don't get around to making a batch until December, the generous yield of 9 half-pints means that you'll have fewer folks to shop for, and if your list is shorter, the recipe halves easily. Tie a little tag around the canning jar ring and you've got a beautiful gift ready for any time of year.

About the Author: Emily Teel is food writer and recipe developer in Philadelphia. Follow along at @brotherly_grub on Twitter, and see more of her work at emilyteel.com

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