Ah, the scent of quinces when you take them out of the bag! Quinces typify Mid to Late Autumn and Early Winter. They are sometimes around also in Early Spring too, but these have been kept over Winter. They are good keepers!
For years we slow poached quinces with spices in the oven, and froze batches to last us through the winter. We made Quince Jam/Jelly, and just occasionally Quince Paste. But we now have a great friend with quince trees, so each year there is an abundant supply. We have taken to regularly making Quince Paste, Syrup, Vinegar, Molasses and Honey. Here are our recipes for you.
The quince was sacred to Venus and Aphrodite as it was once a symbol of love, happiness and fertility in Greek and Roman times. From a tree with pale pink blossoms, the fruit is so aromatic. When cooked, it has the most interesting and wonderful flavour and a slightly grainy texture. The pectin in the fruit means that it makes the best jelly.
When raw, the quinces are bright green, but they mellow to yellow as they ripen (and that wonderful scent develops). They are tough fruit with a hard skin, but they damage easily. They will keep for months if carefully handled, but Quince Jelly is best made with fresh fruit.
The fruit is often covered with a fine down. Rinse this off before peeling or cutting quinces. Be careful as you cut as the flesh is quite hard. It will also brown quickly so drop the cut fruit into acidulated water. As the fruit cooks, it turns firstly a delicious pink-red, and with longer, slow cooking it turns a deep ruby red.
Please also have a look at our Autumn Preserving suggestions and Winter Preserving suggestions. Or simply browse our Early Winter recipes.
Continue reading “100 Vegetables: #81. Quinces – Make Quince Syrup, Molasses, Vinegar, Quince Honey, Paste and Leather (and more…)”