A fragrant relative of the apple, held sacred by the ancient Greeks as the fruit of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Golden when ripe, and often coated in a soft grey down, their flesh is firm, dryish and rarely softens sufficiently to eat raw. Quinces can be baked, stewed or poached, all of which make the flesh meltingly soft, enhance the delicate flavour and can turn the flesh a golden pink. When buying quinces choose the smoother, larger varieties as these are easier to prepare and less wasteful. Quinces contain large amounts of pectin so are particularly good for making jams and preserves. Quinces will keep for several months in the fridge. Before cooking, peel and core the quince and remove the seeds. They go brown instantly when cut, so rub the cut surface with lemon juice as you cut them up. Quinces are popular in the cuisine of many countries. In Spain, they are made into a thick paste, membrillo; in France, into a clear jelly, cotignac; and in Italy, a paste called cotognata. In the meat and fruit combinations of Middle Eastern cuisine, quinces are used in stews, tagines and stuffings.

Special Note

Quince goes with — chicken, cream, ginger, mascarpone, pigeon, star anise