Quince

Have you ever eaten a quince? The first time I had quince jelly I couldn’t believe how such a peculiar looking hard yellow fruit (like a slightly squashed pear) could yield such a fragrant, delicate, pink jelly. Quinces cannot be eaten raw, they are too tart. But the tannins that cause the tartness in the raw fruit mellow when cooked (and turn the fruit pink). Cooked, a quince transforms into something lovely.

Quinces used to be more popular than they are today; you often can find an odd small quince tree growing in the yard of an old house. But people don’t can as much as they used to and unless you’ve actually had something made with quince, you don’t know what you’re missing. Here are some ideas for what you can make with them:

Simply Recipes

Quince Jelly
Membrillo (quince paste)

Quince Recipes from More Food Blogs

Rosey Poached Quince – Cookbook author and dessert connoisseur David Lebovitz reminds us to be careful when cutting these hard fruit.

Poached Quince with Vanilla and Cinnamon – the The Wednesday Chef.

Quince Jam – from Fethiye of YogurtLand.

Quince with Rosemary and Pine Nut Topping and Quince, Rum and Lime Sauce – Ilva of Lucullian Delights.

Quince and Blueberry Crumble Cake – by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once.

Slow Cooked Whole Quince – Brett of In Praise of Sardines explains why the quince turn so red when they are cooked.

Quince-Raisin Tarte Tatin – from Christine of Christine Cooks.

Quince Tarte Tatin from The Serendipitous Chef.

Sugared Quince Paste – Michelle of an Endless Banquet uses the Chez Panisse fruit cookbook.

Paste of Quinces, or Pâte de Coings – Carolyn of 18thC Cuisine pulls out a recipe from 1716 Paris.

Membrillo to pair with Manchego cheese from Nicky of Delicious Days.

Dulce de Membrillo – Melissa of The Traveler’s Lunchbox cooking from “The Basque Table” cookbook by Teresa Barrenechea.

Quince Pomegranate Cranberry Compote – from Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant.

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32 Comments

  1. Elise

    Hi Cakegrrl – Oh, that would be interesting. You would need to cook the quince slices first though. Or maybe just add a quince chutney to the quesadilla.

  2. fethiye

    Elise, you cannot believe how many people like eating them raw in Turkey ;) I should stop by the Otow’s to get some, they are doing a great job!

  3. Elise

    Hi Fethiye – Apparently they grow a different variety of quince in Turkey which can be eaten raw. The quinces you would find here however must be cooked.

  4. ilva

    Thanks for including my recipe!

  5. Sherri

    I found this site when looking up Medlars, there’s a lot on how they used to cook in the old days (I found it looking up Medlars). http://www.historicfood.com Quinces Recipe

  6. chrispy

    Elise, wow so cool to see someone else post about quince. I made an amazing squash bread pudding with roasted quince and Italian sausage this week. Today I am processing a bunch of quince for preserves for my farmer and contemplating quince empanadas and other recipes since I have an entire box of them.

  7. David

    We’re on the same page, Elise…I just bought a bag of quinces (or is it quince?) today!

    And I can’t imagine eating a raw quince. I saw someone do it in California, but I suspect he spent the rest of the day trying to replenish the saliva in his mouth…

  8. Fer Guimaraes Rosa

    My husband and I love to make little sandwiches with a slice of quince paste [guava is even better] in between two slices of fresh white cheese – the Mexican queso fresco does well.

    I loved the idea of a quince tart tatin! :-)

  9. Christine

    This is so interesting, I’ve never had a quince in my entire life. Now I want to try it!

  10. Dana Breaux

    I have never heard of Quice fruit. Sounds interesting. I live in Pasadena, TX where can I find some.

  11. maggie

    My family has always eaten quince raw. We slice is very thin and add a little sprinkle of salt. It is definitely tart but tasty!

  12. SML

    I recently baked quinces to eat with vanilla ice cream. Lovely!

    Heat oven to 325. Wash and halve quinces, carve out pits. Thickly butter a baking dish, sprinkle on 5-6 tbsp brown sugar. Add a dollop of butter and tsp of brown sugar to each pit cavity. Place quinces cut side down on butter and sugar in dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Eat hot with vanilla ice cream or custard.

  13. Geoffrey Clark

    I am in Maryland and have asked numerous fruit vendors and have not located a source of quinces. Does anyone know a source?

  14. Marc

    Last year I took David Lebovitz’s advice and left a quince in my car as an air freshener. And it worked great: for several months my car had a delightful–and all natural–fragrance.

  15. Dr. Judy

    Love quince! Especially when made up as quince butter…like apple butter. Great on buttered toast!

  16. Carol M. Ormsby

    In searching for recipes using quince, I found this site – I have oodles of quince this year from what started out as one tree taken from an extra from my sister’s yard next door, and now have several trees. There’s two ways that I fix them and both cooked in the microwave. One is to wash them and core them, put brown sugar in them and bake them like apples, in a baking dish with some water in it. Delicious! Also, sometimes I wash them and cut them up in cubes and cook them in a baking dish with water and also brown sugar. Now, I have some other ways to fix them – thanks a lot!

  17. beth

    Some great ideas here. I’m currently living in Spain with my Spanish husband and membrillo (a kind of quince jelly) is VERY popular here. It’s lovely! I couldn’t imagine what it was and so did a little research on quince. Apparently, it used to be very popular in the US too, mainly New England, but the trees were susceptible to a tree disease of some kind. I’m excited to try out some of these new recipes here. By the way, to the lady in Pasadena, Central Market on Westheimer in Houston, near the Galleria, carries these during the winter.

  18. Ginette
  19. Chris

    I came home last night with a box of quince determined to do something with them. I clicked on the first web site listed, Simply Recipies, and was surprised to see my family’s farm stand listed as a source for quince. This season at Otow Orchard we have the best looking crop of quince that I can remember. And we haven’t sprayed any pesticides for two years. I chose to make the Dulce de Membrillo recipie on the Traveler’s Lunchbox site. Wow, Wow, Wow and fantastic. I put in about 2.5 hours working on this delicious result. I cut my quince candy into over 50 little pieces. The ones that I can keep from myself and my family I will give out as samples at the farm stand. Thanks to Elise for this wonderful resource.

  20. pamela cox

    I have been a quince lover for years, made all the usual quince dishes, Pastes, jellies etc

    BUT want to know how to dehydrate them in my machine. no recipe available, does anyone know?
    I have tasted them, incredibly delicious.

    Thanks in anticipation.

  21. Carlos

    Who says quince can’t be eaten raw?

    I do and I love it, the more sour it is the better. Usually with lime juice, chili powder (chile piquín) and salt, yum!

    I actually hate sweet quince.

    Some varieties of quince are edible raw. Most would cause your mouth to pucker up so much it would be hard to eat. ~Elise

  22. Jay

    If anyone knows what a quince tree/bush looks like please send a pic or explanation, I think I have one but I’m not certain, thank you.

    There is a photo in the Wikipedia, though you wouldn’t want to just go on a photo. I’ve never heard of it growing wild in the US. ~Elise

  23. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    How about Quince ice-cream? With a 1/2 bushel of quince, I had to go beyond the usual liqueur, baked quince, tart, jam & sauce. If you love quince, you’ll love this rich & fragrant ice-cream.
    http://www.laughingduckgardens.com/ldblog.php/2009/10/10/what-to-do-with-quinces/

    Sylvie

  24. Brandy White

    My Great Aunt Ruby used to make a quince cake when I was little. It was the best cake ever! She cooked the fruit somehow and made the topping with it. Does anyone have a recipe for this? I would really appreciate it.

  25. Sonia

    Anyone know an on-line source to buy Quince?

  26. ray

    I grew up with this fruit (since we have a quince tree in our backyard). We’ve always eaten it raw! Some people like it with salt, others like it with lime and chili powder. The only other way I’ve had it was as a “jam” called, “cajeta” and it’s pretty sweet.
    I’m now looking for new ways to incorporate this fruit into other dishes.

    *west texas gal*

  27. Drew & Vicki Engman

    I was given a quince by a very nice Phillipine family I met standing in line at the grocery store. The man gave me a quince from their tree. I am going to try the baked quince with vanilla ice cream mentioned by Maggie on the comments here. Thank you!

  28. Heather

    I grew up in south Mississippi and my Grandmother had a quince tree in her yard and it was always a favorite of us grandkids to eat it raw with salt sprinkled on top…definitely not for the faint of heart and so sour your eyes would water but soooooo good. :)

  29. Denise

    As they are such a hard fruit, how can you tell when the quinces are ripe enough to make quince jelly?

    They have a wonderful quince aroma when you smell the bottom ends. ~Elise

  30. HERMAN

    If you have not tried it in a pie, just use the same recipe you use for crumb apple pie. I slice mine round and core the slices and mix with the sugar and cinnamon and a dash of lemon juice. Being diabetic I use 2 cups of splenda as the quince is very tart instead of the 1 cup for apples and then for the crumb topping I use 1 cup of splenda and 5 Tbsps of butter and 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of quick oats and bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. So good with a scoop of ice cream while warm.

  31. Lyne

    Try Quince, Cranberries, Cardamon, and Vanilla, for a stunning sauce, for Turkey, cheese plate, pork, or whatever wants a sweet/tart exotic pick up!
    Peel, chop, cook… puree or chucky fine, too.

  32. Basil Robbins

    I spent 3 years in France as a child, grades 4 to 6, and quince trees grew in almost every yard. We had 6 trees in our garden. We never used them except for jam. I now live in Michigan and planted a quince tree in my orchard 3 years ago. Had only 2 fruits last year the second year since planting, but this year I got 1/2 bushel of fruits. At the moment I have 8 fruits poaching on the stove. First attempt at recipie other than jam. Anxious to see how they turn out. I did try a slice of raw quince and did not find it it to be overly sour or tart. My tree was called a Russian quince and it was described as having edible raw fruit. Iam also a diabetic and really happy to see Herman’s recipie for pie using Splenda, I am certain one is in my future.

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