In medieval times, the quince symbolized love, joy, and harmony. Today, this often unnoticed and underappreciated fruit is poised for a renaissance.
Quinces can be eaten right off the tree, but they taste better cooked. The fruit's delicate, floral flavor and heady perfume belie its natural hardiness. Available fresh from late August through February, quinces keep for two months stored in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry place. Use quinces in preserves, pastries, pies, stuffings--or even salsas.
Quinces are ripe when they are still quite firm, but no longer rock-hard, and have a strong, flowery aroma. Introduce yourself to this aromatic fruit by combining it with--or using it in place of--apples and pears. Prepare quinces as you would extra-hard pears, allowing a little extra cooking time.
To enjoy quinces raw, let them sit at room temperature for a few days till they soften slightly