Eventually, I’d like to get a quince tree mostly because they have the most beautiful blooms. So when I was offered a large amount of quince from a friend, I accepted and considered it a test of what I might do when I have my own quince tree in full production.
Quince are related to apples and pears. They ripen a bit later in the fall (I got mine mid-October) making them a nice fruit to extend the season with. The fruit’s fragrance is amazing – one source I found suggests putting quince in a bowl to give a room fragrance. I couldn’t leave any of my quince in the house because they also attract fruit flies by the billion. Their dark side is they’re inedible raw – which is generally how we eat our fruit here. Even though I had read this, I couldn’t help but try a raw chunk of quince to test. I spit the piece out – they are extremely sour (and I’m a fan of sour things) and rock hard.
I did have a recipe for quince paste – so I made a quadruple batch. Basically, it’s a sour gummy that’s all grown up and will go awesome with cheese. Then I made some quince butter using an apple butter recipe and started a batch of quince vinegar (see picture here). I also froze several bags of sliced quince to make crisps out of. At the end, I still had a bucket of quince left over. None of my canning books, and I have a stack, offered any more ideas of what to do to quince and my bucket-o-quince was quickly becoming too ripe.
I resorted to asking an online forum for help – and quince ideas came. I didn’t have enough left to start a batch of wine (but I wanted to), so I settled on making quince and cranberry with ginger preserves (recipe here) which turned out absolutely fantastic and of course I got around to making this a couple days after I hosted a Thanksgiving turkey meal. I’ll bring it out for Christmas, if I don’t just eat it out of the jars before then. I also started a batch of quince vodka (recipe here), which should be ready to try at Christmas.
I now think I can handle a large harvest of quince, so I’m keeping a look out for my own tree.