Quince are a special fruit with a short harvest season. This means if you want to make the most of this fruit you have to wither move quidly or save them for later. Thankfully most quince fruit recipes use quince that is cooked. There are a few ways to preserve quince. The option you choose
will depend on the time and space you have. For me, freezing is
the fast and easy option.
When I say easy, I mean really easy!
The first thing you’ll want to do is clean your quince well and then peel the skin from the fruit. You can peel quince the same way as you peel an apple. (This is my favorite peeler!) Next, remove from the core. The size you cut your fruit is completely up to you however, you want all the quince pieces to be the same size.
Next, the quince should be partially cooked. Boiling or steaming the fruit is how to do this.
To boil it, add enough water to a pan to cover the fruit. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the quince starts to soften. If you plan to use the quince a specific way, such as sweetened with sugar or seasoned with other spices you can do it in the cooking process.
When I am boiling quince to use in tajines or for baking, I add approximately 1/2 cup of sugar for each 1 1/2 cups of fruit. You can reduce this or add more sugar, but I find this to be enough. You will still have liquid remaining once the quince are cooked.
Cool the quince by removing them from the liquid and laying on a flat plate or pan. This will let them cool faster. With the remaining liquid you can keep it as it is or reduce it further to a syrup. Just keep cooking until it’s the thickness you’d like. This can be cooled and frozen separately or cooled and combined with the cooked quince and frozen together.
To freeze the quince add to a freezer safe bag or container (once completely cooled) and be sure to label and date the fruit. Quince can keep frozen for a year. When you want to use them simply remove from the freezer and thaw in your refrigerator or on the counter until totally thawed.
If you’re looking for a potentially healthier way to preserve your quince fruit or you plan to use it for a savory dish, steaming may be a better option. You’ll need a steaming pot with a lid for this method.
In the bottom section add plenty of water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating up, peel and cut the fruit the same as for boiling it. Place the fruit in the top of the steamer and place the lid back on the pot.
Leave the fruit to steam for about 15-20 minutes and check the quince. Again, you want it to be slightly tender but not falling apart. When it’s done, remove from the steamer and lay flat to cool.
Preserving quince is not as difficult as it might seem and when the off-season rolls around you’ll be able to access “fresh” quince for your recipes!