Quinces

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Poached quince slices on yogurt.

Usually, every fall, I buy quinces from Locust Grove in Milton, NY. This year, my two little trees finally bore fruit. Coincidentally, it was the first year I started spraying them with neem oil. I guess I’ll be doing that again next year! I think I could have let the fruit stay on the tree a little longer–they were still slightly greenish, with small imperfections and dimples. With this precious bounty, I decided to do something extremely plain so I could fully appreciate the fruit on its own.

It used to be, when I first became obsessed with making preserves, that I would be drawn to whatever esoteric recipes I could find. Spices and herbs were so much fun to add to fruit! But that inclination has faded. I’ve been focusing on simpler preserves for a while now. In this case, for my prized home-grown quinces I simply poached them in water and sugar. No lemon juice, no cardamom,  no bay leaves or peppercorns (which are all lovely with quinces). The only tweak was that I used my slow cooker to poach them gently over the course of the day. This is the best way to bring out the lovely brick colors that these quinces turn.

Note that quinces don’t always change color. The other day I was given about five large yellow quinces. I decided to experiment–I wanted to roast them dry and see what happened. Usually I roast them with a bit of water and sugar. Using a lightly oiled cookie try, thick, skin-on slices with were roasted for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I turned them once half way through and sprinkled them with very little sugar. The skin crisped up and the insides softened, like roasted potatoes, but they were tart and fruity. They were golden brown, and not a bit pink. Just like that they might have been a nice side with a roasted meat.  Instead I chose to toss them with two spoonfuls of quince jelly. They were hard to stop eating.

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Poached quince syrup, pickled cherry juice, and soda water.

Poaching quinces will leave you with a lovely syrup. For thanksgiving, I used this syrup blended with a splash of leftover juice from some pickled sweet cherries to make an outrageously delicious shrub soda. Also, the poached quince slices are great on top of yogurt, see above, or even more delicious baked into an apple quince pie. That was thanksgiving dessert. I have a little bit less than a quart left–maybe for an all quince tart?

Poached Quinces

6-8 cups of sliced quinces, peel on (you can peel them if you like, but I don’t bother)

2 cups of water

1-2 cups of sugar (1 cup is my preference taste-wise, but 2 cups makes a thicker syrup)

In a slow cooker add all ingredients. Turn on low for 8 to 10 hours, depending on your cooker. Throughout the day check on it, and give it a stir. I like to pull the quinces when they are a deep red, and fully soft. You can cook them too much, and they begin to fall apart. A quick fix for that is to blend them, syrup and all, and you have a luxurious quince pudding. The texture when whipped up is so soft and dreamy–much fancier than just applesauce.

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A perfect apple quince pie.
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13 thoughts on “Quinces”

  1. Hello Julie

    My name is Janet and I currently live in Upstate, NY – I am a Baker. Have to ask if you don’t mind- when I was growing up in Brooklyn there was a Priest in my Parish (Regina Pacis) Father Vincent Sforza- wa wondering if he is a Family member?

    Thanks for sharing

    Janet

    1. Hi Janet! I’ve never heard of Fr. V. Sforza, but who knows? Oddly, there was another Sforza family in the my town I grew up in that we were not related to! Thanks for reading!

  2. Hi Julia. Next year I am going to have to make a trip to Milton to find some quince just so I can try your recipes. I’m also going to take to heart your move towards simplicity. As a fairly recent convert to canning, I too have been drawn to the “exotic” and at times the taste of the individual elements in my jam has gotten lost. Thanks for your post. PS Your photography is “glossy magazine” quality…maybe better!

  3. I’ve always wanted to try canning quince – I’m quire intrigued by the change of color as they cook . There is a local farmer who sells very nice looking quinces at the farmers’ market I go to every Sunday. I will get some and try your recipes.

  4. Gahhhhh! I have to say I’ve never done anything with quinces! Shame on me. I would use some of the poached quinces for either a hand pie or a cocktail. I have pinned this for later, so that when I come across some ripe quinces, I will know what on earth to do with them. I hope you are enjoying your holidays so far. And can I just add that I’m ALLLLL for marzipan for lunch. In fact, it would make the perfect breakfast accompaniment. 😉

    1. Do you ever see them in your neck of the woods, Jayme? You do have to hunt them down here. I hope you see some soon!

      All is well here–I hope the same is for you! I’m guessing you are a marzipan fiend too?

      1. My boyfriend and I were just saying that we haven’t seen any! I mean, bananas don’t grow here, but we get them, so why can’t we have any quinces? Heck YES on marzipan! I could eat it by the spoonful. In fact, I have, but it looks like you have, too! Ha! Wish me luck on my quest/obsession for quinces. It is snowing right now and is SO lovely.

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