Extreme Cuisine – Quince Tips and Recipes
The quince fruit has a very long and illustrious past. It was the object of temptation offered to Eve in the Garden of Eden according to Jewish folklore, and Aphrodite’s fruit of choice. Nowadays, there aren’t too many of us who can say we’d recognize a quince if we came face to face with one. Look for them in ethnic or better grocery stores.
Usually yellow-green in colour, quinces look like a science experiment gone wrong. They’re shape is best described as a cross between an apple and a pear – round and lumpy. Except for one variety, Aromatnaya, quinces can’t be eaten raw. They’re just too hard, astringent and sour to be enjoyable. Instead, peel, roast, bake or stew them. Use them to make jam, jelly, pudding or wine. Add quince to an apple pie to enhance the aroma and taste. Quinces add a subtle tartness to other juices and cocktails. An added bonus is that the quince’s white interior turns to a gorgeous pink after cooking.
Quinces are so aromatic that they were prized as early room fresheners. Their popularity has even added to our lexicon. The word “marmalade,” derived from the Portuguese word for quince (marmelo), actually translates as quince jam.
How To Select
Hold a quince in your hand for a few seconds to feel its weight. It should feel heavy and firm and have very yellow skin. Blemishes are a good sign because they indicate ripeness. Don’t worry if the fruit you choose doesn’t look pretty. The skin will have to be peeled before the fruit is cooked.
Place unripe quinces in a basket and store them at room temperature. Once ripened, refrigerate them. Frozen quinces will never be the same, so make sure you fully cook them before freezing.