Recipe Corner: Candied Quince

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This quince recipe was contributed by Robyn Kalajian at thearmeniankitchen.com. Like olives, quince is not edible when first picked. Cooked quince, however, has been savored throughout Asia and the Mediterranean region for more than 4,000 years. Quince is native to rocky slopes and woodland margins in Western Asia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Georgia, northern Iran to Afghanistan, although it thrives in a variety of climates and can be grown successfully at latitudes as far north as Scotland. California grown quince are harvested in the fall and winter. Armenians have a particular fondness for quince that’s candied, jellied or cooked in stew to lend its sweetness to meat.

As quince cooks, it turns from gold to dusty rose; and eventually glow a vivid, sunset red. “Because of the high pectin in the pulp, the fruit is rarely eaten out-of-hand,” says Barbara Ghazarian, author of the highly praised cookbook Simply Quince, which won the North American Booksellers Best Cookbook award as well as two other national awards. “Slow cooking releases the pectin strands from the cell walls. Once released, the cooked fruit becomes supple and good eating,” Ghazarian adds.

Candied Quince Preserves

Ingredients:

2 large ripe quince

Juice of 1/2 lemon

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1 1/2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

1 small cinnamon stick

Dash of salt

 

Preparation:

Peel skin and core and cut into 1/4 inch slices. It is a hard fruit and requires strength to dice, so use caution. Take care not to cut your hands when slicing quince.

Place slices in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover with water and lemon juice to prevent quince from turning brown, and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes and drain. Return quince to pot, add the sugar, 1 1/2 cups water, stick of cinnamon and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until syrupy, and quince turns a slightly pinkish color. Remove pot from heat and discard cinnamon stick.

Store, refrigerated, in a container with tight-fitting lid. This recipe should keep for up to 2 months. Serve topped with plain, unsweetened, thick yogurt, clotted cream or crème fraiche, as a topping for ice cream and granola, or as a spread on toast, baked breads, or on cake slices. It can also be used as a condiment for chicken, turkey, lamb, beef or pork.

*Pairings: Quince matches perfectly with marbled cheeses with a strong and aromatic taste such as Roquefort: a classic pairing for a cheese board to share with family and friends.

 

Holy Trinity Church Candied Quince

This recipe is from the Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes Cookbook published by the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church Trinity Guild (now Ladies’ Guild) in 1970.*

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups ripe quince

4 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

Juice of 1 or 2 lemons

1 cinnamon stick

5-6 cloves

Preparation:

Wash, peel and core quince. Cut into medium size pieces. Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. When mixture has cooked awhile, add quince, cinnamon stick and cloves. Lower heat and continue cooking until it thickens, about 1 1/2 hours. Add lemon juice, and cook another 5-8 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. Fill hot sterilized jars and seal.

*To order, contact: nazik@holytrinityfresno.org. Each cookbook costs $20.00 (include $5.00 for shipping.)

 

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