I was lucky enough to pick some quinces from a property in Napa recently. At first I considered making a paste, otherwise known as membrillo, but decided to go the easier route and make a chutney. It’s recipes and techniques like this one that I love because you can really make it your own by adding whatever spices you want or have on hand. Try using cloves, black pepper, or coriander seeds, or use coconut sugar or brown sugar as the sweetener. This chutney has so many uses: swirl into a bowl of yogurt or over ice cream, add a dollop to hot oatmeal, top some bread with chutney and goat cheese, or spread onto your leftover Thanksgiving turkey or tofurkey sandwiches!
Quinces are hard to find, but if you stumble upon them at a farmer’s market or specialty food store, I highly recommend buying some. They are a relative of pears and apples and look like a cross between the two, but yellow and fuzzy. Quinces can be eaten raw if they have ripened on the tree in very warm weather, but we mostly see them in cooked form. They are quite tough in the middle which makes coring them more difficult than an apple, but a good paring knife or melon baller should work fine.
makes about 4 cups
6 quinces, or about 3 pounds
6 slices of ginger, about the size of a quarter each
10 green cardamom pods, broken open2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
4 cups water
3 Tablespoons honey
1. In a medium saucepan, mix together the spices, ginger, honey, and water. Cover and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.
2. While the mixture is simmering, prepare the quinces by peeling and coring them, as you would an apple. At this point you can cut them into slices or cubes. Quinces are quite tough and fibrous when raw so be sure to use a very sharp knife.
3. Add the quinces to the spice mixture and bring to a very low simmer. Cover and simmer for one hour. After the hour, remove the lid and bring to a stronger simmer and cook 10 more minutes to evaporate some of the remaining liquid. When the chutney cools it will thicken a bit. You can either leave the pieces as you have cut them or you can smash it to make it smoother.