My first quince harvest is coming up! I planted these 2 trees last fall. They're amazingly productive. There's about 20 or so fruits out there. I can't seem to find useful information online about when they should be picked. I'm in the northwest so I don't have any expectation that they'll ripen to soft maturity. The question is at one point should I pick them. Most of them have turned yellow and most have lost their fuzz. Like all things I'm thinking the longer I leave them the better the flavor.
Gathering from various online sources I think I should wait until they're completely yellow and possibly until they start smelling good. What rules of thumb do others generally use? The lack of guidelines I'm finding remind me of european pears where there doesn't seem to be really clear information about when they should be picked. The people growing them just "know" 😆. Having grown european pears now for about 5yrs I'm starting to get dialed in as well but I'm brand new to quince 😊
As soon as the first fruit start falling to the ground, you can start harvesting them. The fruit bruise very easily despite their being rock hard. The sniff test is best - if you can’t smell the fruit, they aren’t ready. The trees can grow huge so make sure that you prune them ruthlessly to keep the height in check.
If you are using them to make jelly, just wash off the fluff and poach whole overnight in a slow cooker, barely covered with water. Allow to cool and drain the fruit, the skins will slip off very easily, cut in half and scoop out the core. Some fruit have a gritty layer around the core so if you are making quince paste, scoop out all the gritty stuff.
I like to slice and mix them into a jar of poached slice apples to make apple pies, crumble etc. I don’t add sugar until I use the fruit. The poaching liquid can be used to make quince jelly. There are lots of great recipes for oven baked quinces in a slow oven with cinnamon quills and a light syrup and there are also some lovely savoury recipes for quince and lamb.
Enjoy your harvest!
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