In cold countries, the skin of the raw quince is tough and the flesh is inedible due a high level of tannins that causes it to have an acidic taste. For these very reasons, however, quince can be used as a meat tenderizer when added to stews. It also can be made into preserves and compotes and used to flavor other dishes.
The Quince fruit is related to apples and pears and has been around for about 4,000 years. It, originally, hails from the Caucasus and Iran and some believe that the legendary golden apple awarded to Aphrodite of Greek mythology was actually a quince fruit. The quince fruit is now grown worldwide but its popularity as a table fruit has diminished, particularly in cold climates where it is primarily used for jams and jellies.
Quince jelly is an easy way to use the fruit. Four cups of washed and diced quince should first be boiled until soft, then strained. Add a little less than 1 cup of sugar for each cup of quince juice and bring it to a boil. Add one pack of liquid pectin and boil for a minute more. Pour into sterilized mason jars, can in a canning bath and enjoy at your leisure.
After making quince jelly, save the quince pulp. When sweetened with sugar, the pulp can be added to cookies or pies or used in place of apples or pears. Try flavoring the pulp with cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. Quince pulp can also be reduced on the stove and the resulting paste can be spread on bread and paired with sharp cheeses.
Quince fruit that is grown in warm climates is edible and delicious. The fruit can remain on the tree for a longer period of time than in colder countries and this enables the fruit to become soft and sweet. It must be harvested before frost, however. Quince fruit is high in vitamins A, B and C as well as carbohydrates and fiber.
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