All About Quince, the Ancient Fruit That’s Even Older Than the Apple

Here's what you need to know.

<p>mescioglu/Getty Images</p>

mescioglu/Getty Images

Quince is an ancient fruit that is so old, many people believe it was actually the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden—it’s even older than the apple! Here’s everything you need to know about the autumnal fruit:

What Is a Quince?

A quince is a versatile, tart fall fruit that looks like an apple impersonating a pear (or vice versa). It’s about the same size as an apple, is quite firm, and has a pleasant smell. The fruit grows on trees and its peak season is late autumn.

Quince can be pickled, jellied, or baked into pastries. If you can find it in paste form, it makes an excellent addition to a charcuterie board.

Or, if you want to take notes from Vincent van Gogh, cradle the quince with pears, lemons, and grapes for a stunning still-life painting.

Buckwheat Queen
Buckwheat Queen

What Does Quince Taste Like?

When cooked, the quince tastes how it looks—a mix between an apple and a pear.

While the cooked quince is delightful, a raw quince is a totally different story.

Can You Eat Raw Quince?

You can try, but it may be difficult and unpleasant, depending on the variety. In its raw state, quince (at least the ones you are likely to encounter in the United States) tastes bitter and has tough skin. The fruit also contains tannins, which means it’ll make your mouth feel dry if you eat it raw.

Quince Substitute

The apple-pear characteristics of quince, luckily, mean that both tart apples and pears can serve as fine substitutes.

If using an apple for a step-in, use a sharper variety, such as Granny Smith. If you opt for a pear, try using a slightly under ripe variety.

Buckwheat Queen
Buckwheat Queen

Where to Buy Quince

Fresh quince is not something you will typically find in the produce section on any given day. Your best bet is to wait until fall, when it is in season, to begin your search (at least a few weeks after pumpkin spice lattes begin to emerge on coffee shop menus) and to check out local farmers' markets.

If you are eager to try the flavor but having trouble finding its fresh, raw form, keep an eye out for dulce de membrillo, also called “quince paste,” “quince cheese,” or simply “membrillo.” Quince paste is a sweet, thick jelly often sold in squares or blocks. It pairs well with cheese and can be used to stuff pastries.

How to Store Quince

Quince can be pickled, canned, and jellied. But, in its fresh form, it should be kept in a cool, dry place like a pantry or fridge. Should you go that route, you’ll need to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t go bad.

If you need it to last a bit longer, freezing is a good option. You can freeze it whole, but if you have the time, you might as well cut and core the fruit (and perhaps poach it too) to save yourself some time in the future.

Quince Recipes

So, maybe you have some quince or are dreaming about the many ways it can be enjoyed. If you’re looking for a place to start, give these recipes a try:

Read the original article on All Recipes.