Quince is thought to have existed before the apple. Many historical references to fruit, such as the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, were most likely referring to the quince. In Greek mythology, the quince is associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and many people believe that the golden fruit presented to her by Paris was a quince.
Python is the Greek word for quince (or done). It’s pronounced kee-THOH-nee and is written with a v. The quince was connected with fertility in ancient Greece, and it was used extensively in wedding ceremonies. Quince is virtually inedible raw, but it becomes sweet and delectable when cooked. It’s native to western Asia and Turkey, but it’s grown in popularity in Spain, France, and Portugal, eaten as jelly and jam.
Quince is its fruit, and attempting to treat it like any other fruit—even the apples and pears it resembles—will lead to disaster. They are too complicated, harsh, acidic, sour, and generally unpleasant in flavor and texture to consume raw. However, enough cooking softens them and brings out the floral perfume they contain deep within and a delightful sweetness that balances out their cutting edge.
What is Quince?
The modern quince is shaped like a cross between an apple and a pear and is around the same size. The average quince is about 4 ounces in weight, with beautiful yellow color and a strong, pleasant scent. Before cooking, it’s hard, acidic, and astringent, but once cooked, it turns crimson, takes on a completely different flavor, and tastes exquisite. The deepest red hue in cooked quince comes from aluminum cookware. Quinces are ripe and ready to eat in late fall when they grow on trees. Before cooking, you must permanently remove the peel and core of the fruit. All options are roasted, stewed, pureed, poached, baked, turned into jelly, or grilled. Fresh quince can be challenging to come by, and prices can vary.
How to Choose Quince?
A decaying quince is a soft quince, so buy rock-hard fruits instead. For those accustomed to selecting the perfectly ripened peach or delicious citrus fruit, actively choosing a fruit that feels so far from ripe seems counterintuitive, but that is the quince’s peculiar way. They should not be green or under-ripe, regardless of how tough they are. Look for a firm yellow quince that feels hefty for its size, with no soft patches or bruises. The best quinces have a slightly sweet, apple-like aroma, particularly towards the stem and bloom ends. Large spots of dark, spongy meat or wrinkling skin indicate that the fruit will spoil and should be avoided.
When you smell a decent quince, you’ll know it’s good. Their fragrant, somewhat musky, and the curiously tropical scent is impossible to miss when fully ripe. Any that feel mushy when squeezed should be avoided; they should be as hard as rocks. When it comes to visual clues, look for yellow. Like their cousins, the Bartlett pear, Quinces mature from a lime-ish green to a golden yellow color. Always seek fruits free of punctures, bruises, or peaceful places.
Where to Buy Quince?
Quinces are ready in the fall and grow organically on little trees in Turkey and Asia. Some farms will cultivate quinces, but they might be challenging to come by due to their rarity. Look for local apple farms that also grow quinces. Farms can ship fresh quince fruit in the fall, although they are frequently somewhat pricey. A 5-pound box of fresh quinces costs around $40 on the internet. This size package will hold roughly 10 to 12 fruits. A 10-pound box holds 20 to 24 fruits for bulk shipping. Pick a fruit that feels hefty for its size and is devoid of blemishes if you discover fresh quinces. Quince paste is more widely available, and it may be purchased in international markets, specialty markets, and cheese shops. Quince paste, jam, and jelly are also available on the internet.
Quince trees are excellent backyard trees. If you desire fruit, grow a fruiting quince tree rather than a flowering quince tree, which will not produce edible fruit. The trees require good soil and can grow in USDA Zones 5 to 9. Cross-pollination is best achieved by planting at least two trees. Pick the largest, blemish-free fruit if you come across a quince tree. Snip the fruit from the tree with a sharp set of garden shears.
How to Cook with Quince?
Quinces are used in the preparation of marmalade and jam and spoon sweets and jellies. Pectin, a naturally occurring starch, is abundant in the fruit. Quinces are also excellent when cooked with meats and make a great complement to apple pies. In Greece, quince is used in some well-known and well-loved pork recipes, and it’s also fantastic with lamb, turkey, and duck. Quinces can be baked in the same way as apples are for a sweet and easy dessert.
Poaching quince is one of the simplest ways to prepare it. As a result of this procedure, you’ll get to savor both the sweet fruit and the poaching liquid. Quarter the quince after peeling it. Simmer the quince for 30 to 40 minutes in a poaching liquid made of water, honey, sugar, and spices. Strain the fruit and use it immediately away, saving the syrup, or save both and use the poached quince later.
Does Quince Taste Good?
Quince is quite astringent when eaten raw. Quince is difficult to consume in addition to its flavor. It has a rough, knobby, and fuzzier rind than a peach. The raw meat is rough and has a tangy flavor. The fruit grows softer and sweeter when cooked. A ripe quince has a powerful aroma similar to that of tropical fruit or a rich vanilla scent. They are excellent raw or cooked. However, when eaten raw, they have a slightly bitter taste. They can be consumed in their entirety, including the skin and seeds. Because of its sweet flavor, most people use quinces to produce jams and jellies.
How to Store Quince?
Avoid storing quince in plastic or anything that is sealed. They may appear normal on the outside after spending time like this, but they will be discolored and melancholy on the inside. Quince thrives in cool, dry, and airy environments. It’s even better if you can give them enough space, so they don’t touch — if one rot, you can quickly dispose of it without affecting the others. They’ll keep for several weeks if they’re not punctured or bruised. Most of the quinces we find have been nicked and bumped, so keep an eye on them if you plan to leave them out for an extended time.
Quinces should be kept separate from other fruits. Their scent is addictive and lovely, but it is also powerful, and everything you store near them will absorb it. Victorian housekeeping manuals recommend placing quince trays at the top of the linen closet to fragrance the laundry – doesn’t that sound lovely?! Please report back if anyone tries this.
How to Freeze Quince?
It’s simple to keep some quince in the freezer for later use. Cut and core the quinces, then poach and cool thoroughly. Then decide if you want to preserve them with or without the liquid or if you want to have quince puree on hand. I strongly suggest you save the poaching liquid for other purposes if you wish to freeze without it. For a homemade quince soda, reduce it to a syrup, mix it with sparkling wine or sparkling water, or use it in a cocktail. Serve it over yogurt or baked goods. Before transferring your processed quince to a freezer-safe bag, decide and do what you need to do. Freeze after removing as much air as possible. It can last up to a year in the fridge. Once the quince has wholly cooled, please place it in a freezer-safe bag or container, labeling and dating it. Quince can be frozen for up to 12 months. Remove them from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter until completely thawed before using.
Quince is one of the most well-known fruits globally, but many people have never heard of it (and even fewer have tried it), owing to the apple’s seeming theft of its identity. The famed apples in the Garden of Eden and the Song of Solomon are most likely references to quinces. The quince became associated with love and fertility for the ancient Greeks. It was a common addition to wedding feasts and cakes, and the fruit was frequently tossed to newlywed spouses as a symbol of devotion.
Quince is revered for its rich aroma and flavor, praised by ancient physicians worldwide for its medical virtues, and given a great deal of cultural significance. Quince was a status symbol in the Middle Ages (royalty served it at special banquets; King Richard III had a quince bake for the final course of his coronation feast); it was the most popular pome in colonial America (almost every homestead had a quince tree), and now most of us barely know it (but we can fix that).