Sunday, November 20, 2016


As the Columbia City Farmers' Market was wrapping up this season, I saw many stands selling quince. One of my favorite vendors, Let Us Farm (get it--Let us? Lettuce?), had some wonderfully voluptuous fruits on display. I was remembering my days as a gardener at Filoli in Woodside, Ca where they have a very large shrub. Nostalgia with these golden yellow fruits in front of me, I couldn't pass them up.

Quince are covered in fuzz which must be washed off to prepare for cooking. The skin is much more waxy than their pear and apple relatives making them ideal for adding pectin to jams and jellies. There are recipes out there that suggest adding quince to applesauce. The word marmalade was originally from quince jam, as the Portuguese refer to this fruit a marmelo.

A little more history, according to Lynn Rosetta Casper's The Spendid Table, it may have been quince and not an apple that was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. And it may have been the start of the Trojan War when Helen of Troy bribed Paris to give Aphrodite a quince for the prize in a beauty contest.

I found a recipe for quince membrillo which is essentially a paste. To cook the quince, I peeled and cored them, placing the pieces in a cheesecloth. I then diced the fruit, put everything in a large saucepan with a cup of sugar and just enough water to cover everything. I brought it up to a simmer on low heat and cooked it until everything was soft (1-2 hours).

I discarded the cheesecoth and pureed everything in the food processor. I took the mixture and spread it in a small bread pan then stuck it in the oven at 175 for 15 hours. This can be done over a couple of days.

I removed the golden paste from the pan, sliced it into small pieces and served with water crackers and manchego cheese. The taste is more floral and fruity; with hints of citron in the background.

Just add friends and enjoy!

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