Quinces are a fruit often overlooked in favor of more popular options like apples and pears. While they are not commonly eaten raw due to their tart and astringent taste, quinces are edible and have been used in cooking for centuries. The taste of a quince varies depending on the variety, but it is often described as tangy, sweet, or slightly sour. It has a raw quince that tastes sour and astringent, its flesh is tough and grainy, and its skin is thin and leathery. It smells like a tempting mix of pear, apple, and citrus fruits.
When cooked, the smell strengthens, and the quince changes from white to pink and softer. Bitter and sour notes lose their sharpness and take on a light sweetness. The main differences between quinces and apples come from uses, flavor profiles, fragrances, and looks. Quince cuisine differs from apple cooking by mainly using juices (instead of whole fruit) or adding lactic acid to infuse beautiful sourness without spending hours at the stove. The juice can be drunk plain or added to cocktails with an apple flavor twist. Enjoying quince requires patience because peeling the skin can take longer than opening a jar of its juice.
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Can You Eat a Raw Quince?
It won’t harm you if you eat it raw. However, it doesn’t offer pleasant tastes. It is very woody and hard to chew. If the texture doesn’t turn you off, the uncooked fruit’s sour, bitter taste probably will. Raw quince is bitter, hard, takes 2–6 weeks to ripen, and is hard to cut into. When cooked, it releases more flavor, softens, and gives whatever you add a strong, sweet smell.
Ways to Enjoy Quince Fruit
Here are some fun ways to enjoy quince fruit:
- Make ripe quince jelly with apple cider vinegar, honey, and spices. Enjoy as a healthy sweet snack or mixed into your morning oatmeal for added flavor and nutrients.
- Sauté quinces in some butter or olive oil until they’re nice and caramelized on the outside but still firm inside. Add them to salads or serve them as an appetizer alongside crumbled feta cheese and sliced red onion for something special!
- Quinces can also be used in baking recipes. Try making them into pies, tarts, empanadas, and bread.
- You can make jams, jellies, wine pairings, or eat it raw as a dessert.
- The most popular ways to eat quince include poaching it in orange juice or balsamic vinegar and serving it with poached eggs and greens. You can also make a rustic apple tart with grated quince added to the crust mixture. Additionally, you can use quince paste for baking desserts such as bombe Mercedes (an almond tart).
- Not to mention, there are endless variations of cocktails that you could try using this sweet and sour fruit! For example, consider mixing Quince Juice with vodka for a refreshing Moscow Mule-style cocktail. Or create an affinity mix of mandarin tea liqueur and Drambuie whisky for your favorite fruity margarita recipe. There is no wrong way to enjoy this delicious treat!
- You can blend quince blending with yogurt or ice cream, use it in salads or desserts, make jam, and cook with it.
Sample Simple Quince Recipe
Here are some steps for preparing and cooking quince:
- To remove the skin, use a vegetable peeler. The Kitchen suggests keeping the skin for use in jelly.
- Cut each quince in half lengthwise using a sharp chef’s knife; this may be challenging due to its tough skin.
- Each fruit should be cut into quarters, and the core and seeds removed.
- Discard any moldy areas.
- Immediately after slicing the fruit, submerge the pieces in a water bowl to delay browning.
- The water should be brought to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook the quince for about 40-50 minutes at a low simmer until it is pink and tender.
- Go ahead and take your time.