Fresh quince can be elusive. But this is definitely the season in which to find them. In light of the fact that they’re not edible, or at least enjoyable in their raw state, they have not found popularity in the market like other fall/winter fruits.
That being said, I am smitten with this chameleon of the fruit world. When its bumpy-ugly mug is cut open, fragrant creamy-white flesh is exposed. Then magically its flesh turns the most festive cranberry-red color when cooked for a few hours. The aroma of quince is jaw dropping, boasting notes of apple, flowers, and tropical fruit. It is at once intoxicating and comforting.
While it simply begs to be eaten out of hand, don’t be lured by its siren song! Instead, follow my recipe below and you will be rewarded with a rare, otherworldly condiment perfect for pairing with cheeses, roasted meats such as pork, chicken, or turkey, or slathering on buttered, toasted crumpets.
2 pounds fresh quince peeled, cored, and cut in to 2″ chunks
1 cup Pomegranate-Quince White Balsamic Condimento or Plain White Balsamic Condimento
1 cup granulated sugar
2 +/- cups water (or enough to barely cover the quince)
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1 split vanilla bean, or 2″ cinnamon stick (optional)
Place the balsamic and sugar in a heavy 3+ quart pot, and slowly heat and swirl to dissolve the sugar over medium heat. Add the quince and just enough water to cover. Bring the contents to a steady, gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Cook slowly, partially covered for 2 hours making sure there is enough liquid in the pot to prevent scorching.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Puree the entire contents using a food processor or blender. The quince butter will thicken substantially as it cools, as quince is high in natural pectin. Once cool, jar and refrigerate for up to one month. Alternatively, this can be heat processed or canned for shelf stability.
This is particularly enchanting served with salty, briny, or nutty cheeses on cheese plates. It is also fabulous with a Monte Cristo, or instead of cranberry in traditional leftover turkey sandwiches, on PB&J, or just slathered on toasted bread.