Monday, December 5, 2011

My Quince Obsession

UPDATE: I just realized I never said what it tasted like. When it was cooking up, the smell was very wine-y and intense. The taste is very hard to describe--sweet, wine, port, prunes are few words that come to my mind when I taste it. But the taste isn't intense like what the smell when it was cooking up. Texture is a little chunky. I can see how it would go well with some cheese as the Spanish would do.

has been quiet, in the background of my ever crazy mind since I heard the story on npr [Reading up on it, find bath products scented with it, never in the stores, never getting to the farmers' market to see if they have any]. I recently spotted a lonely scrubby quince tree near my route to the restaurant and have been plotting how I could pick me some [on private property, no where to park without getting noticed]. So when someone at work told me she got some from our office fruit/veggie people, I jumped at the chance to buy some.

If you never heard or seen a quince, it looks like a bumpy pear/apple in a yellow green color as you can see above. It's scent is incredible when it is ripe, can be almost too sweet of a scent. It can't be eaten raw, tastes horrible. But has lots of pectin in it, to make it perfect for jams and jellies. Now I have  2 lbs in my hands and I will cook up some jam this weekend to add to vanilla cake or maybe some Earl Grey Tea cake with vanilla buttercream.

Fast forward, to this weekend, I made jam, had to do it or the quinces wouldn't have lasted to next weekend. Found an easy recipe on the internet, added some nutmeg and vanilla to it and cooked away. It took a little longer than it should--I think I started out too gentle with the heat. Also it was my first time making jam/canning by myself. I remember sort of helping my mom do make guava jelly but only real memory is the intense sweet smell of the fruit cooking down. Kind of enjoyed the process, loved the way the fruit changes color and comes together. And the whole canning process was was right up my alley, the popping of the lids to made me proud that I did it right.

I think I'm definitely will be making more jam [can't wait for the summer fruits]. Anyway, I got 6 1/2 pints out of my 2lbs. Here's my bounty.
quince jam

I decide to have a tasting at my office since I got so many people intrigued by it. To go with the jam, I whipped up some of my zucchini bread, adding a ripe pear to that and adjusting the leavening and a little less sugar to compensate for the pear. Here's what left of the tasting once I remembered to take a picture.
office tasting

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