The Magnificent Quince

Image Map Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

Oh, how I love quince!

Are you familiar with these beauties? If not, get yourself to a farmers market or specialty food store soon and seek them out. The fruit shape looks like a combination of a pear and an apple. The color ranges from bright green when young to an electric and finally almost golden yellow when ripe. Quince must be cooked as they are extremely astringent raw (though some cultures do use them raw), but once softened in a bath of sweet syrup the flavor is like no other!  Slightly floral, a touch of the best apple and pear you’ve ever had, well balanced tartness, throw in some honey undertones and… wow! Set out a bowl of them for a few days and they will perfume your whole house.

A native to many regions in Central Asia, the quince has traveled far and wide and influenced the cuisines and lore of many cultures (Highly recommend looking up some quince history. Some fun info, way too much to write here). Served as a dessert, preserved in jams and spreads, cooked with meat and grains it lends itself to many dishes. Once cooked the flesh turns a luscious pink color.

I was first introduced to quince by my dear friend Lindsay, a native of New Zealand. She is a marvelous chef and we worked together for many years at her catering company. I believe the dish was poached fruit with vanilla custard. Simple, elegant and it blew me away! The quince was the most unique flavor I had ever tasted and obviously it made an impact. I’ve been waxing poetic about quince ever since. Thanks Linds!

My plan this year is to poach them in a light sugar or honey syrup with vanilla beans and then freeze several batches to devour during the nippy weather that is fast approaching. Last year I made a lovely quince chutney and an elixir for sore throats (and it was helpful!). The recipes and some fun quince facts came from a post called ‘quince essential’ from this lovely blog, A Raisin and A Porpoise.

The chutney is very yummy and would be a splendid addition to a Thanksgiving or other winter holiday meal, if you are so inclined. I hope I’ve inspired you to try this wonderful fruit and add it to your list of favorites. Happy Quincing!


One thought on “The Magnificent Quince

  1. Pingback: Marmellata di cachi, noci e mele cotogne | La Caccavella

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s