It's time for quince, perhaps the most underrated treasure of the autumn season. It's hard not to wax a little poetic about quince, but we'll try to restrain ourselves and just tell you, in plain language, why you should pick up a few of these as soon as you can.
Quince was my principal food crush of last year; it was something new for me, and a total revelation.
Quince tends to be a revelation by its very nature; it is a rather ugly, knobbled green fruit, with a gray fuzz all over it — like a deformed apple afflicted with mold. But its scent betrays it; there's a wonderfully aromatic sweet smell that comes with a ripe quince. It's definitely inspired more than its fair share of poetic rapture among food writers.
The fruit, though, needs some help to get from its bitter, sour, puckering initial state. Quince needs to be simmered in sugar (we add spices too) and magically it turns from a grayish-yellow fruit into a rosy, tender, and magical fruit. The taste of cooked quince is something between apples and pears, with a tropical hint of pineapple. We can't get enough of it.
The secret locked inside quince makes it feel romantic and tantalizing for us; we can hardly wait to find it now, and we're going to jar up a lot of it to carry us through the winter.
Have you ever tried quince? What is your favorite way to eat it?
• Look! Can You Name This Fruit? - The first part of Emma's quince saga.
• Quince Report: Good News and Bad News - The rather sad end.
• Quince Ratafia: How To Make Fruit Liqueur - A recipe for quince liqueur.
• Recipe Report: Quince Ratafia - How the liqueur turned out.
• Quince and Fig Cobbler from Top Chef Stephanie Izard
• Weekend Recipe: Quince and Apple Tart - (pictured just above)
• Good Question: Quince, Forgotten Fruit with NY Roots
• Tip: Easy Peeling Quince
(Images: Faith Durand)