Our Cheeselog

What the Heck is a Quince?

Still life of a Quince, before and after.

Still life of a Quince, before and after.

Our good friend the Quince might be a stranger to most of you. Usually, the only time we see one is after it’s been cooked to death, mixed with a ton of sugar, and allowed to solidify into a firm, slice-able paste. Creatively enough, this paste is called “Quince Paste”, or in much-prettier Spanish, “Membrillo” (mem-BREE-oh), and is one of the uber-traditional accompaniments for cheese.

The Quince is almost never seen in public in its original form (much like Cher), so imagine my delight when I visited the Grand Mart and saw a huge pile ‘o Quince (Quinces?) just waiting to be snatched up. I literally jumped up and down, clapping.

Once we got home, my daughter was eager to taste it (after all, Mommy leaped for joy). First, she could hardly get her teeth into it. Then, she looked at me, all puckery, like, “Mom,  I hate to disappoint you, but…” So of course I had to try it for myself. Although our Quince looked and felt much like a large yellow apple, biting into it revealed an unyielding, chewy interior and a muted yet sour flavor. Frankly, it tasted kind of icky.

So, how do I sum up the experience? It would be sort of like meeting Richard Simmons and finding out that he’s really rude. Kind of a let-down. So, dear Quince, I enjoyed our little rendezvous, but next time we meet, you’ll be in paste form.

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  • 7/11/13 19:44 Muriel:

    My grandmother used to make jelly out of quinces and apples. She said you couldn’t make apple jelly (I forgot the reason) but that if you added quinces, all was well. It may have had something to do with setting, as she didn’t use any artificial pectin in her jams and jellies. It tasted really good, and was a different taste from apple.


  • 9/2/13 14:44 pamela:

    quince is used as a pectin substitute in many older recipes. I use it in my panforte at the holidays. Check out Italian cookbooks for more uses