The quince is a small deciduous tree related to apples and pears. The Ancient Greeks valued the quince so much that they considered its fruit to be blessed by Aphrodite or Venus and the statues of this Greek Goddess show her holding a quince fruit in her right hand. Currently, Turkey ranks first in world quince production by producing a quarter of the total world production. The variety grown in the NorthEast is commonly baked into pies, quince paste, or jam, but the Iranians use it in stews and also as a cough suppressant. Pick out the seeds from the quince core and set them out to dry for a couple days – next time you have a sore throat, soak 5 – 6 seeds in 4 tbsp of water for about 30 minutes and drink the ensuing jelly-like liquid to soothe your throat! The fruit is delicious while the peels and seeds contain a natural pectin, which makes this rare fruit is so versatile.
Storing: Store them at room temperature until they are fully ripened and emit a pleasant aroma. If you don’t plan to use the ripe quince immediately, then store them in the refrigerator where they will keep up to two weeks. However, it’s best to store them apart from apples and pears because their penetrating aroma may affect the other fruits.
from Endless Banquet
3 lbs. quinces, peeled, cored, and diced *
3 cups water
2 cups sugar, plus more for dusting
juice of one lemon
1. Bring quinces to a boil in the water until they are very soft. Pass through a mill or sieve.
2. Add sugar to puree and simmer on medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken and bubble a lot.
3. Cook until it can be mounded up in a pile, about 45 min. Add lemon juice and pour onto an oiled piece of parchment paper in a tray.
4. Smooth out to 1/4″ thick. Let cool. Reverse it onto a new piece of parchment paper and let dry overnight. Cut into squares and toss in sugar. Store in an airtight container.
Note: If paste is still a little sticky after one night, cut it into squares, toss it in sugar and let it dry overnight again.
* If you are super industrious, you will save the peels and cores and make quince jelly. I have yet to be so industrious.
Aromatic roasted quinces
2 quinces, peeled, cored
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stalk
8 green cardamom pods
5 drops orange oil
1. Heat half a litre of water and stir in the sugar until melted.
2. Add the spices and orange oil. Halve or quarter the quinces, so that they fit snugly into a covered oven-proof dish. If the water level seems too low, less than 3 or 4cm, add some more.
3. Let cook in a 200ºC oven for about 90 minutes (or 60 minutes when quartered), flipping them over half way through.
4. Then turn off the oven and let the quinces sit in the oven using up residual heat. Remove when cooled. I let mine sit overnight since I roasted them at 11pm.
5. Now the quinces should be very dark and soft as silk but still holding their shape.
These beauties are great to eat on their own or with cheese and biscuits but you could turn half of the slices into a quince tatin. And if there are any leftover bits and bobs then use them to make quince bruschette!
2 whole halves of roasted quince (above)
250g puff pastry
ca. 50g sugar
ca. 50g butter
pinch of salt
1. Toss sugar, salt and butter into a cast iron pan, about 23cm. Let melt slowly before turning the heat up to medium-high.
2. Let bubble until starting to caramelise.
3. Cut quince into suitable chunks and place in the pan, as tight as possible, in one layer. Let bubble until lovely caramel forms.
4. Trim the pastry into a circle and place on top of the quinces, tucking the edges in neatly.
5. Place the pan into a 210ºC oven and bake until golden.
1. take slices of crusty bread, grilled or toasted
2. smear with a good layer of Brie cheese (or spreadable cheese with tiny bits of ham in it)
3. top with roasted quince slices (above),
4. sprinkle with Feta crumbles,
5. drizzle with a bit of runny honey,
6. and eat right away!
by Food and Wine
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 star anise pod
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
3 quinces (8 ounces each)—peeled, cored and finely diced
1 Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and finely diced
One 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, allspice and star anise and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the sugar, vinegar and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer.
3. Add the quince, apple, cranberries and raisins and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy, about 25 minutes.
4. Discard the star anise. Serve the chutney warm or chilled.
Note: The chutney can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
At the end of our Fall CSA season, we challenge our members with a quince cook off to test their creativity with cooking with a rare fruit that most have never tried before. The following are some recipes from our contestants:
Quince in a Blanket
from K. Creighton – Williamsburg CSA
3 cups Sugar
Cheese of your choice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring water and 3 cups of sugar to a boil and and poach quince for 15-20 minutes in enough liquid to cover the fruit.
3. Take poached quince out of pot and dry on a paper towel.
4. Place 1 piece of speck on baking sheet and layer with cheese – wrap this around the quince to create a “quince in a blanket”. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Let cool, drizzle with syrup or honey
Khoresht e beh (Iranian Quince Stew)
from N. Samadzadeh – Williamsburg CSA
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups water
2 large quince or 4 small
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp ground saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
2/3 cup lentils
1. In a large pot, brown onions in 2 tbsp oil until extremely caramelized.
2. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and lentils. Add water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are half cooked.
3. Wash and peel the quince, cut out cores, and slice into 1/4 inch wedges. In a heavy skillet, saute in 2 tbsp oil until light brown. Set aside.
4. Add sugar, lemon juice, tomato paste, saffron and quince to lentil mixture. Cover and simmer until lentils are cooked but not falling apart, about 15 minutes. Serve over rice.