[Sca-cooks] Ripening quinces

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Sat Oct 10 22:36:03 PDT 2009

David/Cariadoc wrote:

> Incidentally, does anyone know if quinces can be ripened after 
> picking? Many of mine are deadfalls, mostly a bit green.


You can ripen them on the countertop.  They will turn yellowish, with a blush, and give off a perfume.  It's after midnight and I'm not in reach of my cookbooks, but I remember reading a recipe about using "fragrant" quinces, so that's what I've always done.  When they turn yellow, they are indeed "fragrant," with a sweet and rose-like aroma.  It's when my husband starts making comments about the scent getting a little strong that I know they're ready for cooking.


My method for quince paste is to quarter and core the fruit and cook it down slowly in it's own juice, taking out the peels as the fruit lets go of them.  I continue to cook the mush until it traces - when you draw a spoon across the bottom of a pan and it briefly leaves a trail.  I then cool the pulp, weigh it, add an equal amount of sugar, and return it to the pot and continue to cook on low heat until you can drop a spoonful on a plate and no liquid seeps out and the pulp does not run.  I drop dollops on parchment paper and put them in a low oven to dry.


You don't have to do all this at once.  I usually cook down the pulp one day, then the next add the sugar and finish it off.  


The longer you can simmer your quinces, the more intense the orangey-red color will become.  A heavy-bottomed stainless steel or enamelled pan on low heat works best.  I've also done it in a copper preserving pan on a rack to raise it off the element (I wish I had a gas stove for this), but in my experience it's more likely to scorch than if I use my heavy-bottom stock pot.


The quinces came into the local grocery stores this week.  I know what I'll be doing over the next few days.



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