In recent history, the apple and the pear have become the most popular of the pome fruits, and many people have never even heard of the quince. The fruit is strongly perfumed, and somewhat bitter, but has been cooked and used as food throughout recorded history. Some suspect that the “apple” referred to in the Song of Songs may have actually been a quince!
Quince trees are native to countries in the region of Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, but draw a line of latitude across a world map, and lo and behold! Hazelnuts are not the only Turkish crop that can thrive in Oregon. Indeed, WildCraft is able to source quince from a stone’s throw away, right here in the Willamette Valley.
We use it in our Quince Cider, created by blending the quince with Calville Blanc, Honeycrisp, and Winesap apples. The quince provides strong, resonant, floral quality which resounds over the dry apple base to produce a clean representation of a unique and forgotten aromatic fruit. It is dry and delicious!
The quince fruit is also used in The CiderHouse to make dulce de membrillo (also called quince cheese). This is made by cooking the quince over a slow fire. During the process, the fruit takes on a more gelatinous texture and turns a deep red color. It is a wonderful addition to the cheese plate.