Getting More Familiar with the Quince
Quinces are bright-yellow fruits related to apple and pears, but are hardly known among Americans. These aromatic fruits appear in the markets just when apples and other popular fruits are going out of season, and consumers are just getting know them, especially those who are adventurous in the kitchen. That is because quinces are inedible when uncooked but becomes fruity, spicy, and tender after boiling, poaching or stewing. They release a floral aroma and develops a rosy hue after cooking. Its tropical flavor is a combination of guava, pineapple, apple, and pear, and is a rich source of vitamin C, copper and fiber.
Quinces have been grown in North Africa, the Middle East, South America, and the Mediterranean for centuries, but in the US, they are grown commercially in California. They are harvested in August and sold in farmer’s markets and ethnic and gourmet stores until the month of January.
Consumers should buy quinces that are firm, bright yellow, fuzzy-skinned, and aromatic. If they appear green and without scent, they are still unripe, and if they are soft, they may be spoiled. Quinces can be stored in room temperature or in the refrigerator for about a month.
Preparing them for desserts is easy. They can be cored, topped with sugar and baked at 250 degrees for around three hours. They can also be poached in white wine and sugar and served with ice cream. They can also be made into sauce for turkey, duck or lamb or into a jam or jelly, to be used as an appetizer or dessert with Manchego cheese.
Ahlberg, A. The Best Fall Fruit You Aren’t Eating. Rodale.