Poached Quince with Lemon
By Ann M. Evans
The quince is an ancient fruit. Some say the apple in the Bible story of Adam and Eve, was really a quince. Unlike the apple it has to be cooked to be edible. Like the apple, it is a member of the rose family, and has a beautiful blossom. In fact, its relative, flowering quince, is grown specifically for its flowers. Look for it in February. In early days in the United States, every community had a tree at the bottom of the lane, to be used when making jams for its qualities of pectin.
Quince can be hard to find, and not commonly available commercially or at farmers markets. I scout out the trees in town or prevail upon friends with quince trees. I wait until its fragrance, which is said to be like an apple pie baking in a floral shop, is strong, then I process and can it for the winter.
One year I made Quince Digestif, another Quince Chutney with Juniper Berries, and another Sweet Vanilla Quince. This year, 2014, I poached the quince with Meyer lemon from my trees, and froze it for the first time. It worked fine. I serve it as a sweet or savory side. It pairs as well with roast pork or lamb as it does with a cheese coarse. It is similarly at home over morning steel cut oatmeal or evening vanilla ice cream.
4 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 Meyer lemon, sliced horizontally and seeds removed
8 large quince
Resealable, plastic quart size freezer bags
In a large pot over high heat, bring the water, sugar and lemon to a boil, forming a syrup. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the syrup until you are ready to add the quince.
Wash and cut the quince into quarters. Remove the seeds. Using a very sharp knife, peel off the skin of each quarter and slice it into about 3 sections each, approximately ¼ inch thick.
Add the quince slices and poach for about 30 minutes. The quince will turn a beautiful salmon pink.
Place quince and syrup to cover in a jar with lid and keep in the refrigerator up to one week, or freeze. To freeze, remove the quince with a slotted spoon and place about 1 cup quince in a quart size, resealable freezer sandwich bag, adding syrup to cover each. Make sure that some lemon is in each bag. Place in freezer.