Quinces are a unique and fragrant fruit, but only recently have I seen non-specialty grocery stores start carrying them. Shaped somewhat like a deformed apple, quinces are native to Asia and have been consumed for thousands of years by the Greeks and Romans. When ripe, quinces have a strong aroma reminiscent of apples, pears, and tropical fruit like guava. Quinces start turning up in the tropical/weird fruit aisles of grocery stores in mid-Fall when the leaves start to turn. Typically astringent and sour when consumed raw, quinces lose this character when cooked and become sweet and fragrant- often finding their way into jams, preserves, and jellies due to their high pectin content. Thankfully, you can also get all of these unique quince characteristics by infusing them in alcohol and turning them into a fragrant and mellow amber liqueur. Quinces make for a unique and delicious liqueur that I've yet to see on any store shelves, and make for a truly great gift or a way to weather the holidays.
Step 1: What You'll Need
- 2-3 large quinces (or more, depending on container size)
- Quantity of decent vodka, or other suitable hard liquor (enough to fill container)
- Quart sized mason jar (or other airtight container)
- Knife and cutting board
- Time (4+ weeks)
- A cool, dry place
- Coffee filters
- 2 or more cups sugar
- Decorative bottle of choice (for finished liqueur)
Time is the most important ingredient here. Select quinces that have a fragrant smell, and aren't too bruised or blemished- since quinces are relegated to the section of the grocery store where weird things go to die, you might have some trouble finding perfect quinces.