Organic Quince Paste

Quince, a forgotten fruit today, was brought over from Europe during the colonization of America. It was considered proper to plant a quince tree in a well stocked apple orchard. It is a cold weather tree needing temperatures below 7C to flower properly. They hardy up to a zone 3/4 winter climate. Although it is hard to eat raw, they are perfect for cooking. They contain high amounts of pectin which make them a cinch to make jams or marmalades. In fact the word marmalade came from the Portuguese word for Quince; marmelo.

I owe this year’s quince crop to my neighbor’s tree. Since the former owners did not care for the fruit because they cold not eat it off of the vine, it was left to its own without any spraying or fertilizer. It, by defunct, was organic. Lucky me.

This is a recipe for quince paste. The Spanish like it with manchego cheese. Have to say I do as well. Leave extra quince around the house for a natural deodorizer.

Quince Paste Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Quince
  • Organic Sugar

Equipment:

  • Large stock pot for boiling
  • Large pot for making quince paste
  • Food mill
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ramekins

1. Wash quince and remove leaves. Put the whole quince (skin and stem included) in a pot of boiling water. The amount of quince is up to you. I like to fill up the pot I will eventually use to make the paste as my guide. No need to weigh or count at this point.

2. Boil quince for 25 minutes or until they become soft. If your quince are a little under ripe, it may take longer to get them to a form soft enough that a wooden spoon can easily be pushed into the center.

3. Strain and let cool.

4. Mill the quince. The seeds, skin and stems are great for the compost pile. There are a lot of old world medicinal uses for the seeds.

5. Measure the quince pulp into the large pot. Add equal parts sugar. My pulp ended up equaling 7 cups, so I added 7 cups of sugar.

6. Put on low heat and stir often to make sure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. Since this is a thick substance be careful as it will spit up as it boils. I like to place a cover half way over to keep the spitting out to a minimum. Do not cover entirely or you will stop it from reducing. Add a stick of cinnamon if you want a little extra flavor.

7. Wait until the bright yellow quince turns into a darker red color – about an hour depending on the amount you are cooking.

8. Line ramekins with wax paper and pour in quince. Don’t wait too long or it will form a film in the pot in a short period of time.

9. Place ramekins uncovered in the oven and let sit overnight to dry out. Or to speed up the process, set oven at 175F. Keep on for 20 minutes and then turn off. Leave ramekins in oven for an hour.

10. Let cool, cover and store in fridge. It will keep up to six months covered in the fridge.

Enjoy!

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