Remember this little guy?
Well, he grew up to be this:
I've never tasted a quince. In fact, I had never even seen a quince. So why plant a quince tree? I think I've mentioned this before. There is a children's poem about The Owl and the Pussycat which mentions '...they dined on mince and slices of quince which they ate with a runcible spoon.' It's a great poem that takes you to silly places in your mind. Sadly non-poetic, a runcible spoon is a modern day spork. Ugh.
I had to go to Wikipedia to learn about quince. It is quite acidic, and must be cooked in order for it to be eaten. High in pectin, it was used a lot in jellies and jams. There is also yummy quince paste that is fabulous with a hunk of a good Manchego cheese.
It starts out fuzzy, grows quite large and looses it's fuzz. I picked mine a tad too early as there was some bird damage and brown spots which were increasing in size. They needed to come off the tree and processed. Next time, I need to wait until they are more yellow in color.
A quince is dense and hard to cut, yet these were easy to peel. I peeled them with a fruit peeler instead of my usual paring knife. Their meat is closer in texture to an unripe pear. It is grainy and dry. Maybe it was this way because it wasn't ripe enough itself.
What did I make? Quince and apple sauce. Two pounds of quince and two pounds of apples (and a squeeze of lemon) makes three pints of sauce. I had to cook the quince for about 15 minutes alone and then added the apple. Quince takes a longer time to cook and get soft than apples do. As I was cooking down the quince, I smelled a rose-like aroma which is (I guess) the signature fragrance of the quince.
I haven't cracked open the quince/applesauce yet. When I do, I'll let you know how it is.