Today I’ve embarked on a “quince mission”…. I spotted these beauties at the veggie shop and have delved into production kitchen mode, preserving these lovely, fragrant fruits.
I’ve opted to make reduced sugar versions of both poached quinces and paste. In the past I used to make it a lot, usually with the more furry varieties of quince. As you can see from the picture above, my final poached quinces aren’t particularly pink or ‘rosey’ in colour as they should be. I’ve done quite some research about this on the web, trying to determine if indeed, my reduced sugar varieties are to blame for the lack of colour.
There are 5 factors which are usually discussed when it comes to final quince colour:
- Quince variety (perhaps mine below are more of a ‘white’ variety).
- Sugar content of the recipe.
- Lemon or acidulator added to recipe.
- Length of cooking time.
- Use of cartouche (baking paper lid directly on the surface of the quinces as they cook)
I found this amazing write up about quince science: for those who have trouble with ‘beige’ quince products…..
Apparently there is a chance my poached quinces will turn pink in the jars with time. Perhaps I did not cook them for long enough or it is because I used the lid of the pot to cover, rather than a cartouche! My paste however is another story; I cooked it for at least 1.5 hours (once it was in paste form) and it didn’t turn pink! Perhaps this is because I only used 1/3 of the weight as sugar (rather than an equal ratio of puree:sugar).
Regardless of all the quince colour research out there, the quinces were delicious! With less sugar they were still fragrantly sweet, if you’re wanting a healthier version this is a good option!
Poached quince is absolutely delicious with rich salty meats such as pork belly or confit duck or serve on top of yoghurt & muesli for a delicious fruity breakfast.
1 Litre water
1 Tbsp Rosewater
2 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
1 lemon, peeled and then sliced, seeds removed (use both peel and slices in the poaching stock)
4 Quinces (approximately 800g weight before peeling)
- Place all the ingredients apart from the quinces in a large pot. Heat over medium-high heat to bring to the boil.
- While the sugar stock is heating, prepare the quinces. Top and tail the fruit and use a speed peeler or sharp knife to peel off the skin.
- Cut each quince through the core into quarters. Remove the core with a sharp paring knife, being careful not to cut yourself as the flesh is very hard. At this point you can decide if you want to keep the quince in larger pieces (such as the quarters you now have) or you can choose to cut each quarter lengthwise again for smaller segments (8ths)
- Once you have prepared the quince, plunge into the sugar stock.
- Cover with a lid (containeing a steam vent) and reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. The slower you can poach your quinces, the faster you will achieve a pinky colour. They will however get pinker as they are stored.
- Cook quinces until tender: approximately 20-30 minutes for eighths and 45-60 minutes for quarters. Test using a sharp knife to determine if they are ready.
- Bottle in sterilised jars or store in the refrigerator.