Autumn delight: quinces

Now I really feel as if fall is here!  I found quinces in the market!  You don’t often see them (they appear in late fall (just before frost), but when you find them, you just have to

quinces on tree

from elderflower orchards

do something with them.  One of the things to do with them is to let them sit around in your fruit bowl and simply perfume the room.

Although they are considered by most to be inedible uncooked, they are wonderful to cook with.  Simply poaching them turns them a lovely rosy shade, and makes them absolutely luscious. Or there is membrillo (quince paste) which is lovely with cheese–particularly manchego

Here is a favorite recipe from David Lebovitz.  I’ve included the recipe below, but you really should read the additional information from his blog.


Poached Quinces

(From David Lebovitz’s living the sweet life in paris)

Quince are not usually raised commercially so you won’t find many picture-perfect specimens. Expect a few bruises and scrapes, but avoid fruits with soft, dark spots. Like pears, quince ripen from the inside out, so later in the season, you might find fruit that’s past its prime when you cut them open. I look for firm quinces and lift them to my nose; if they have a nice fragrance, there’s a good chance they’re good candidates for poaching.

Some recipes advise soaking the peeled quince slices in lemon-tinged water to avoid browning. I’ve never done that, but instead, I simply slip them into the warm poaching liquid and any trace of discoloration soon disappears. Of course, this recipe can be halved, or increased.

7 cups (1.75l) water
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/2 cup (150g) honey
1 lemon (preferably unsprayed), cut in half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

6 large, or 8 medium, quince

1. Mix the water, sugar, honey, lemon and vanilla bean in a large non-reactive pot and turn it on to medium-to-high heat. You can add any additional spices or seasonings, as indicated above, if you wish.

2. While the liquid is heating, quarter, peel, and remove the cores of the quince. Make sure to removed anything tough for fibrous, being very careful with the knife. (The intrepid can wear one of these.)

3. As you peel and prepare the quince quarters, slip each one into the simmering liquid. Once they’re all done, cover the pot with a round of parchment paper with a walnut-sized hole cut in the center and place it on top.

4. Simmer the quince (do not boil) for at least an hour, until the quince are cooked through.

Cooking time will vary, depending on the quince. They’re done when they are cooked through, which you can verify by piercing one with the tip of a sharp paring knife. It’s not unusual for them to take up to 2 hours, or more.

Serve warm, or at room temperature. To store, pour the quince and their liquid into a storage container and refrigerate for up to one week.

You can also use these poached quince to make my Quince tarte Tatin.


Thank you, David Lebovitz!  Wonderful recipes on this website.  It’s a go-to for desserts.