Quince: Fertility, happiness, love and protection.

I have a quince tree. It is a small tree that produces dozens of small hard green fruit each fall. The fruit are covered in a soft fuzz. As they ripen the fruit turns yellow and exudes a wonderful floral scent.

Cooking with Quince

Quince is an interesting fruit. It is unappealing raw but once cooked, the flesh takes on a rosy color and develops a complex tangy-sweetness. Quince fruit grows on a small tree in the rose family. (like apple and pear). It is an ancient fruit often symbolizing love and happiness. Grieve writes, “ It was very widely cultivated in the East and especially in Palestine, and many commentators consider that the Fertility, happiness, love and protection, of Scripture, always translated Apple, was the Quince. It is also supposed to be the fruit alluded to in the Canticles, 'I sat down under his shadow with great delight and his fruit was sweet to my taste' and in Proverbs, 'A word fitly spoken is like Apples of gold in pictures of silver.’” Modern Herbal, p 665.Quince is sacred to Venus who is often depicted holding a quince. Pliny wrote that it could ward off the evil eye.

This is my preferred method.

Poached Quince in Syrup

This recipe makes a lovely fruit-filled syrup that bakes beautifully into cake recipes.

You will need:

12 medium quince

4 cups water

2 cups sugar

the juice of 2 lemon

2 teaspoons vanilla

Peel and cut each quince into wedges as you cut out the seeds and core.

Measure the water, sugar, and lemon juice into a large pot. Add the quince slices and cook on medium to simmer. Cover with a vented lid, lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until fruit is soft. Add the vanilla and cool.

Honey Roasted Quince

When you have a fruit tree you suddenly end up with an abundance of fruit and even after you give some away to friends and family there is still an ample supply to experiment with.

Method 1

This method turns the fruit into a yummy bite with a baked apple-like texture and sweet-tangy flavor. You can leave the skin on or peal it off. If leaving it on, rub off the fuzz. Cut each quince into sections and remove the core. Place the fruit into a baking dish. Mix 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Drizzle with honey (about 1/2 cup) and bake at 350 until the fruit is tender.

Method 2

Cut each quince into 1/4 inch sections and remove the core. Place the fruit into a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and turn to coat. Top with a drizzle of honey (about 3 Tablespoons) and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 until the fruit is tender.

For Thanksgiving I served this with fresh-baked bread and Manchego cheese and it was a hit.

Quince Cake

This is a sweet cake that tastes like honey. It is often confused with honey cake.

You will need:

1 cup flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1 cup quince syrup and flesh

1/3 cup butter

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Put the butter into the dish and place in the oven to melt. In a mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add honey, eggs and quince and mix. Pour batter into hot butter and place in the oven.Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown.