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broodings from the burrow

December 30, 2016

visits, plus one, and quince
posted by soe 2:11 am

Three beautiful things from this past week of Christmas:

1. Being up north for Christmas allows me to spend time with not just my parents, but also Karen and her kids and my friend Eric. Our trip is shorter than usual, so I’m especially glad for those visits.

2. A friend phones to share news of her pregnancy.

3. I finally have time to poach the quince I didn’t get to (neither back when I bought them in November or before leaving for Connecticut):

A Fuzzy Quince

Tami had inquired about my plans to poach the quince earlier in the month, so I thought I’d share in case there were others who didn’t yet know about this fruit. Quince are a member of the Rosaceae family and are related to apples and pears (both farms I’ve encountered who sell them at my markets are, indeed, orchards). When quince ripen in the late fall, they’re green-yellow to bright yellow and range in size from from a medium apple to a grapefruit. They’re also covered in a fine fuzz.

A Bag of Quince

The most noticeable thing about them, though, is their strong scent. They have an intoxicating floral odor that I don’t think can be confused with anything else.

Quince at the Outset of Cooking

Most varietals can’t be eaten raw (they’re too tough — somewhere between kohlrabi and squash, I’d say — and too tart), so they require peeling, coring, slicing, and cooking. I use Clotilde’s recipe.

Vanilla-Poached Quince

After they’ve poached for a few hours, they turn a lovely shade of pink. They mix in well with yogurt and oatmeal, and I may try Clotilde’s cake or tartlette recipe this year, since I have most of a big stockpot full. If you’ve ever eaten Spanish/Middle Eastern membrillo, that’s quince paste (quince is really high in pectin), and Wikipedia informs me that marmalade originally referred to a rough-chopped quince jam. Every way I’ve ever eaten it, it’s delicious.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world recently?

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