The Mighty Quince

Quinces in Season in New York.
Photo: Kenneth Chen

It’s quince season, and if that doesn’t make your heart beat faster, you’re not alone. Although the ancient Greeks went for them in a big way, today’s average New Yorker doesn’t know what to make of this sweetly scented—but in its raw form, inedible—fruit. An inspired suggestion from British food writer Kate Whiteman: Shove one in your glove compartment to deodorize your car. (Now there’s an idea for the TLC.) An even better one from Café Boulud’s Andrew Carmellini: Gently poach with honey and spices and serve as a sweet-and-sour accompaniment to wild game, pot roast, or pork chops, or simply spread on toast.

Andrew Carmellini’sQuince in Wine and Roses

5 quinces, peeled, quartered, cored, peels reserved
Freshly squeezed juice of 5 lemons
1 cup red, white, or sweet wine
1 cup honey
3 whole star anise, crushed
1 3-inch cinnamon stick, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon rosewater

Illustrations by John Burgoyne.

(1) Cut each quince into 12 wedges and place in large nonreactive bowl. Add the juice of 1 lemon and enough water to cover. In a large pot, combine two quarts water with remaining lemon juice, quince peels, wine, honey, star anise, and cinnamon. Bring to boil and reduce liquid by half, then
(2) strain through mesh sieve, discarding star anise and cinnamon. Return liquid to pot. Drain quinces, add to pot, and bring to boil. Cook quince over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes.
(3) With a slotted spoon, transfer quinces to a large nonreactive container. Bring liquid to boil and reduce until it reaches a syruplike consistency. Stir in rosewater and pour the syrup over the quinces. Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate.

The Mighty Quince