Knobbly pears or misshapen apples? Nope. Quince may look like a cross between the two but infact it is a fruit in its own right. In it’s raw form, the skin is rough and woolly, and the flesh is hard and unpalatable, with an astringent, acidulous taste because they are high in tannins, however sufficient cooking softens them and brings out the floral aroma they hold deep inside along with a delicate sweetness that balances out their sour edge. Cooking also turns the fruit’s flesh from creamy white to anywhere from a light rosy pink to a deep, dusky red. Quince is an ancient fruit and found in Roman cooking and grown across Turkey and southeast Asia.
So how to describe the taste of a quince, I guess a cross between an apple and a pear with slight tropical notes. Select fruit that are large, firm, and yellow with little or no green. Quinces should be picked when fully yellow and firm. Quinces must be handled carefully as they bruise really easily.
Quince jelly or membrillo is a delicious and perfect accompaniment to soft cheese or the scrumptious Spanish Manchego.
Points to remember about the fruit:
- It’s really hard and tough so take extra care when you’re preparing it for cooking.
- The fruit oxidised very quickly so have acidulated water ready to p