Quince is a fruit in the same family of apples and pears. The immature fruit is green, and when it ripens becomes yellow. Its flesh is hard, with a very strong perfume.
This fruit is native to South-West Asia, Central Europe, Armenia, Turkey, Georgia, northern Iran to Afghanistan. I grew up in Romania and we had a quince tree in the backyard. So quince was a staple in our homemade deserts. I loved the jam my mother used to make every fall. The whole house smelled so heavenly delicious!
When I moved to US, I was so disappointed as I couldn’t find quince fruit in my local supermarket, only in specialty fruit markets. Now, after many years, I see them everywhere, but few people buy them, because they don’t know how to use them properly. Most varieties are very hard and too tart to eat them raw. But if you let them sit in a dark place (kitchen cabinet) for a few days, covered with napkins, they will ripen and soften.
You can use them to make jam and jelly, like my mother did. You can roast them, bake or stew them. Peeled or not peeled. My mother made an amazing chicken stew with quince!!!
The flesh has such a strong perfume, soooo nice… You can add a little cube of quince to any fruit sauce, it will wake up all the flavors!
Did you Know? The term “marmalade” derives from “marmelo”, the Portuguese word for this fruit. In Spain it is known as “dulce de membrillo”, and it is eaten with cheese, in sandwiches, like the guava cheese.
These are quince fruits I found in a fresh farm market in New Jersey. I picked up a few and I let them ripe for a week or so. They became really bright yellow and we ate them without thinking to take more pictures. Our bad, but they smelt so divine, and I totally forgot about my blog!
Next time when you see Quince fruit in a fruit market, pick one and give it a taste, it is so well worth it!