Did Adam taste a quince instead of an apple in the Garden of Eden? Scientists have researched the region’s fruits and say it is likely that apples were not in the area at that time. Quince are relatives of apples and pears and pair well with them in curries and pies. Do not eat them raw due to their astringent taste.
Quince are a good source of vitamins A &C, fiber and iron. They aid in digestion and help lower cholesterol. The medicinal qualities of quince have been appreciated for centuries. Shakespeare said they were the “stomach’s comforter.”
Quince have a high level of pectin and are popular for use in jams, jellies, and preserves. Since they hold their shape, they work well for poaching, stewing, or baking as a dessert. The famous quince paste is a great recipe to make, but is challenging in our the high altitude and dry climate. The CSA members and local recipes gave some tips on easy recipes. CSA member JJ gave us some tips to can quince and make dulce de membrillo (quince candy) that his grandmother made for him as a child. In Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors cookbook, she has two wonderful quince recipes. One uses the poaching method and one uses a pressure cooker that works well in our climate. Thank you Deborah and JJ for allowing us to share these with the CSA members.
Poached Quinces in Syrup
FROM LOCAL FLAVORS BY DEBORAH MADISON
2 1/2 pounds ripe, yellow-gold quinces
3/4 cup sugar
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
2 wide strips orange zest (removed with a vegetable peeler)
1. Rub the fuzz, if any, off the quinces. Using a good sharp knife, cut away the skin in long, clean strokes, just as you would an orange, saving the skins. Remove the center with an apple corer (you may have to make the hole a bit wider than you would for an apple), saving the cores. Slice the quinces into wedges about 1/2 inch thick.
2. Put the skins and cores into a saucepan with 2 quarts water, bring it to a boil, then simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Strain. Return the liquid to the pot and add the sugar, spices, and orange zest. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the fruit. Place parchment paper or a heavy plate directly over the fruit to keep it submerged. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the quinces have turned pink and are slightly translucent, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If the syrup becomes too thick, add more water as needed. When done, store the fruit in its syrup in the refrigerator. The quinces should keep for 2 months.
FROM LOCAL FLAVORS BY DEBORAH MADISON
4 cups washed and quartered quinces
wide strip orange zest
1 small piece cinnamon
1 cup light brown or white sugar, or more to taste
additional sugar or honey
1. Put the quinces in a pressure cooker with 1/2 cup water, the orange zest, and cinnamon. Bring the pressure to high and maintain it for 15 minutes. Let it drop by itself. The fruit should be an intense shade of pink. Fish out the orange zest and cinnamon and discard them.
2. Pass the cooked fruit through a food mill, then return it to the stove. Turn the heat to low, add 1 cup sugar, and cook stirring frequently, for 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened nearly to a jamlike consistency. Taste and add additional sugar or honey if needed. Pour into sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator.
I remembered that last year my wife would cut the fruit in half, clean out the cores and bake them until softened adequately. Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on them.
Dulce de Membrillo (Quince Candy)
JJ has the same style of cooking that I do where measuring is not as important as the taste and feel of the food. These tips make candy and seem easy to watch the color and consistency of the quince.
Quince, cloves, lemon juice, lemon peel, vanilla and palm sugar
Clean up the fruit, peal it and cook it down by stewing until you can food mill it into apple butter/apple sauce type consistency. At that point the color is similar to applesauce. Then I add cloves, some lemon juice, lemon peel, vanilla and palm sugar. Cook it for several hours on low heat until it thickens and the color changes to dark rusty orangey color. Then you can make dulce de membrillo (quince candy) in the oven on parchment paper. Ladle the quince mixture onto cookie sheets with parchment paper and put it in the oven at the lowest possible setting, ideally 150ish degrees. It takes about 8 hours. Once out of the oven and cooled, make diagonal cuts to make diamond shaped pieces roughly an 1-1/2 inch square. Layer the pieces on parchment paper in a sealable container. One could either keep it in the fridge that way for up to six weeks or freeze for several months.
From the Simply Recipes website
Click here for the details
– 4 pounds quince, washed, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
– 1 vanilla pod, split
– 2 strips of lemon peel
– 3 Tbsp lemon juice
About 4 cups of granulated sugar
Cover quince pieces with water, add the vanilla pod and lemon peel and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the quince pieces are fork tender. Strain the water and vanilla. Purée the quince pieces and measure the purée. Whatever amount of quince you have, that’s how much sugar you will need. So if you have 4 cups of purée, you’ll need 4 cups of sugar. Return the quince purée to the large pan. Heat to medium-low. Add the sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the lemon juice. Cook until the quince has a dark orange color. Pour into a pan lined with parchment paper and cool.