They dined on mince, and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced in the light of the moon
– “The Owl and the Pussycat” Edward Lear
Quince is a fruit that I had always heard about but never really had a clue what exactly they are. Then a few weeks ago, when visiting a friend’s farm, we gathered a bag full of ripe quinces. They are a cross between a pear and an apple with a gorgeous scent – the car smelled of quince for days after the trip home.
Now, what does one do with a big bag of ripe quinces? If you’re me, you make quince jam. Actually, you start out trying to make quince paste but when there isn’t enough pectin to set the paste, beautiful quince jam is the outcome…
After coring, peeling and chopping the quinces, I boiled them for about an hour until they were tender (and the fruit turned a lovely deep pink shade). Then I pureed them in the food processor, returned the puree to the pot, added an equal amount of sugar and some lemon juice and let the mixture boil for a few hours, stirring frequently, until thickened.
To make the paste, you are then supposed to bake in a greased pan for about 4 hours in a low oven. I tried this and only the top of the paste set. Only after this happened did I realize that I obviously didn’t have enough pectin in the mix so will make sure to add this next fall when I get my next batch of quinces….
And now I have an abundance of quince jam in the freezer and I am looking forward to using it in many ways:
– Spread on naan bread, top with grated asiago and after a few minutes under the broiler, it makes an easy tasty appetizer
– Slather on slabs of bread and bake in a custard for a yummy bread pudding dessert
– Use as part of a marinade with pork loin
– Simply enjoy spread on toast
Oh….the list could go on…
If you are familiar with quince, what’s your favourite way to enjoy them?