Apple and pears are the better known relatives of the quince. The quince is like an antiquated and estranged cousin of this familiar fruit family. A tart cousin at that.
That is until it’s cooked. It’s yellow flesh turns a ruby red that mimics the beetroot ketchup I made, and it’s flavour is a sort of sharp and perfumed one.
The quince I used were as a result of my exploring Peckham and discovering the General Store. Here you’ll find bowls, shelves, crates and baskets of the best kind of proper quality foods. That includes quince, apples and such that locals have traded in with the store. I was pretty glad to stumble upon that place as my Saturday attempt to urban forage fell short when the doors I knocked of apple tree owners were unanswered. The General Store guys also taught me that the soft covering on the quince (that could easily be mistaken for dust) is actually called pubescence and that’s good pub quiz material. I’m not sure of pubescences’ purpose but I am sure it has one- nature is good like that.
For about a kilogram of quince (which made me 2 jars of quince butter) begin by washing off said pubescence before peeling and chopping the fruit and putting it in a blender. Blend the quince till they are finely chopped. Place this mixture in a slow cooker on high and add just shy of a cup of a natural sugar like muscovado or demerara, a tablespoon of cinnamon and a few drops of vanilla essence. Leave this on the go for about 4 hours-ish, stirring if you are home. After that cooker time place the mixture back in the blender and blend till a smooth paste. Chuck it back in the slow cooker for another 4 hours or so and you’ll have a fruit butter with pow.
Fruit butters are a great jam alternative for what is undeniably jam season. I put my quince butter on some toasted rye and sprinkled some coconut on top but they are also good in porridge or stirred in to your muesli.
I might start a campaign to bring back the quince. It’s a good’un.