Golden yellow quinces resemble slightly lumpy pears. Their lovely scent can fill a room, but they need heat to mellow their tannic taste. When cooked, quinces turn sweet-tart, reminiscent of pineapple, with a rosy hue. Ripen at room temperature until fragrant; refrigerate up to three weeks.
To prepare, rub off any fuzz. Quinces are rock hard, so cut carefully. Stand the fruit upright and slice down along four sides. Discard core; peel sections with a vegetable peeler.
To stew, mix 4 cups water; ½ cup sugar; ½ cup honey; about 3 cored, peeled, and quartered quinces; and 1 tablespoon lemon zest. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla to taste. Simmer 45 minutes, until tender. Use as you would cooked apples, in sweet or savory sauces.
With their high pectin content, quinces make excellent jams and jellies. Substitute in any apple jelly recipe; add a little chopped chili pepper for heat.
— Elisa Bosley
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