Q Is For Quince, Let Us Quote

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.00.12 AM“They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon, the moon.
They danced by the light of the moon.”

~ Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

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I like quinces.

They’ve been around Europe since before medieval times, mentioned in literature by both the Romans and the Greeks.

If you’ve ever seen one in the produce section of the grocery store here on this side of the pond, you know that they’re pretty to look at, a nice yellow color.

Albeit they’re as hard as a butternut squash when you go to cut into one, they have an interesting shape, as seen in the image above.

They taste like spicy pear to me, and are delicious when made into a jelly or jam.

Or yummy as Membrillo [aka quince paste] with some Spanish Manchego Cheese OR Irish White Cheddar Cheese.

On an English Water Cracker, of course.  OR on an Italian Crostini, if that’s what you have around.

Perhaps with a glass of chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc while sitting on a North American deck, waiting for the sun to set and the moon to rise, enjoying nature.

Yes, this is what I think of when I think of quinces: charming words, delicious international nibbles + kicking back to relax.

See why I like ’em?

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

40 thoughts on “Q Is For Quince, Let Us Quote”

  1. OR with some brie on a grilled flatbread. But I’m smitten with your Sauv Blanc, too. Icy cold, please.

    We just picked up almost a case in Niagara-on-the-Lake, some made by a Kiwi winemaker, the rest by a Polish one. I sweet-talked the latter into selling me bottles out of the Library Cellar (shhh!) since I missed their availability in the fall. Can’t believe he accommodated me.

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    1. nance, I like your brie/flatbread idea. YUM. It’ll go great with our Sauv Blanc purchased at the local K. Roger off the shelf. We’re wine plebes, unlike you, my clever nance… who has a way with words! Good job getting the wine.

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    1. Tamara Narayan, quince is a quirky fruit that not everyone knows about, but I think it’s tasty. Plus it’s pretty to look at! [Shallow? Who’s shallow here?]

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  2. They are tasty! I love membrillo with Irish white cheddar, but then I think I’d eat anything with that cheese! This post made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve had the opportunity to sit and enjoy such things…and with wine.

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    1. bitsfromheaven, I agree about the Irish White Cheddar. It’s good. I know what you mean about missing the opportunity to enjoy life with some wine + cheese. We don’t do it often enough & we have no excuse for not doing so. *shakes head in dismay*

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    1. nrhatch, the raw fruit is inedible because it’s so hard, but when stewed or turned into jam, YUM! It’s one of those unusual fruits that requires some work.

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  3. Excellent job Ms. Bean! All I could come up with for Q was real men don’t eat quiche. This is much better and reminds me that we had a quince bush next to the house when I was growing up. I don’t think Mom ever made quince jelly from it and I don’t know why. But I used to convince my little friends that they were just small apples and they should take a big bite. I was a funny, funny child.

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    1. Zazamataz, I didn’t think of the real men saying. That would have been a good one. Your mother might not have fussed around with the quinces because they’re hard, and take a lot of time to stew before they get turned into jam. They’re nothing like pears or apples in that regard.

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  4. I did not know what a quince was. You’ve educated me. I’ll look for it on the next trip to the grocery store! (Then again, I try to pawn the grocery shopping off on my husband. He doesn’t mind doing it like I do.)

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    1. Carrie, I’m pleased that I could learn ‘ya about quinces. They’re available at the grocery during the fall, and sometimes all the way into early spring. They’re time-consuming to stew, but I like their spicy taste. Now the membrillo, on the other hand, you can find year round in Kroger, near the gourmet cheeses. It’s good, too.

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  5. This post has made me hungry for some cheese and fruit and wine…exactly what I plan to savior next week on a little mini vacation to the coast. I have seen quince in a few local markets at times and never knew what they were. As I’m not one to want to fuss with things that require so much work, I would be totally on board with a nice jar of jelly/jam though and I think that will be on my weekend shopping list of ‘foods to take to the shore’ 🙂

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    1. Deb, your vacation to the coast sounds delightful to me, with or without wine + cheese + quinces. Although the addition of them would not be a bad thing, ‘ya know? Enjoy your time away. *sigh*

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    1. Janet Miles, if you can find the quince paste, which you serve with cheese and crackers, then it’s no work at all! Plop the membrillo out of the container onto your cheese board, and let everyone slice their own quince paste along with their cheese. Very casual.

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  6. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had quince, except maybe as part of something else and I didn’t even realize it. I was reading about adding it to hard cider the other day though. So perhaps I will have some sooner rather than later…

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    1. Sarah, that’s interesting about adding quince to hard cider. Never heard of that, but I can see how quince’s spicy flavor would enhance the cider. You’ll report back on what you find out, right? In the mean time, may I suggest some membrillo…?

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      1. I shall have a full report on quince as soon as I find some and get bold enough to put it in my cider (these are both tasks that may take awhile). As for membrillo, I had to look it up. As it is apparently also known as quince cheese, you would think someone from Wisconsin would have heard of it (even though it is not, apparently, actual cheese). It does look tasty!

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    1. Mary Lou, I’ve never been to Monticello, but I’m not surprised that TJ had them growing in his gardens. At one time, they were popular here in the US. Not so much anymore.

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    1. Kourtney, they’re available in the fall and sometimes all the way into early spring. Or at least that’s when we get them around here. I believe the ones we get are grown in NY state and/or in OR.

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