Thursday, 26 July 2012

honey quince tea

honey quince tea.

You know it's the season for quince when you see these large, yellow, knobbly, apple-like fruits popping up on the bargain table at the markets near closing time, bundled together in a bag with the more common fruits like apples and oranges. Except, wait, hang on - we're right smack in the middle of winter now, so this is actually an unusually late appearance. But I am not one to reject unexpected blessings.

I wanted to make something easy (so what else is new?), so I decided to brew a quince tea. I had a quick search online for recipes, and most of them involved macerating thinly sliced quinces in sugar or honey for weeks. I didn't want to wait that long. I found a quick, simple one, where boiling water was simply poured over chopped quince, but I wasn't quite sure if it would be flavourful enough as I've heard that quince gets sweeter and more fragrant when you cook them for an extended period of time.

I decided to go for a middle ground with the good old poaching method. I chopped up the quince into little cubes, inhaling their fresh apple-pear scent. As they simmered, they released beguilingly sweet honeyed floral notes, and I would poke my nose where the steam escaped, to breathe it in, deeply.

The end result was a humble affair: a mellow tea to be sipped, with bits of quince to be chewed... and on that cold winter's night, it brought a much-welcomed warmth to our bodies.

a lone quince.

honey quince tea
(makes about 4 cups)


1 generously large quince, or 2 small ones (approximately 450g / 1lb)
Honey, to taste

Peel, core and chop quince into petite chunks of about 1 cm / 1/2 inch. (To keep the quince fresh and bright, soak the pieces in a bowl of water with a dash of lemon juice as you chop them up.)
Place 6 cups water and quince pieces in a saucepan and bring to boil. Turn down to a simmer and let it cook gently, partially covered, for 40 minutes, or until the quince flavour has sufficiently infused in the water, and/or the quince pieces are sufficiently tender to your liking.
Remove from heat and add honey to taste. Serve with a spoon for scooping up the cubes of quince.

Other ideas:
Simmer with a small knob of ginger, a pinch of nutmeg, or a vanilla bean.
Add in a squeeze of lemon juice or mandarin juice in the end.
Mix in some freshly brewed green tea in the end.

honey quince tea, with a touch of lemon.

24 comments:

  1. I would simply adore this. Especially with a spritz of mandarin juice, good thought. I've never bought a quince, but I've rarely seen them at the store. I probably won't at all, now that I live way up where I do... but if I ever come across one, I know how I'll use it:)

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    1. I don't see them often at the stores, either. They seem to have quite a short season. This was my first time buying one!

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  2. That sounds very nice! I really don't think just steeping raw quince in boiling water would have a good flavour at all!

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    1. And the bonus of cooking it means that, a better infusion aside, the quince gets sweet and tender and good for eating! :D

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  3. Thanks for sharing this. I've only eaten quince in desserts (usually poached or made into purees), but have never actually seen the actual fruit! Until today. :)

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    1. They certainly don't pop up in the shops, or markets, often enough! At least now you'll recognize a quince when you see it. :D

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  4. This is so beautifully written, it felt like I was right there with you! It sounds like a delicious drink

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  5. This is a most glorious idea! A Most Glorious Idea. Definitely sending this to my mum and dad; they adore quince :)

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  6. I love quince! Having said that, I am yet to cook with it, though my mum makles a mean quince jelly that you can read the paper through! I am feeling a bit under the weather today and this tea would brighten me up for certain!

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    1. Oh, that quince jelly sounds fabulous! Perhaps you can post about it one day. :D

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  7. Do you know, I don't think we have quince in the U.S. I had never seen it (or really heard of it) until we were in France last year. Our family quickly took us to the market and pointed it out. Then, the mother had some 'quince' jam she made and sent us home with two jars. It was like discovering a brand new toy! Now, I am tickled every time I see anything with quince. Tea?! There's another new discovery.

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    1. I had a quick search and it seems you do, but for some reason they don't seem to be very popular. Hmmm...

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  8. I have since quince jelly on a store shelf, but have never been so daring as to try. I must correct this . . . on a quince mission now.

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    1. I reckon quince jelly would definitely be worth trying! :)

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  9. I really need to start using quince in my cooking... seen many recipes over the last month or so (probably coz it is in season) but haven't had a chance yet. This tea sounds beautiful though and perfect on a wintery Melbourne day like today :).

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    1. Yes, I would like to experiment more with quince, too. So many delicious things that can be made!

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  10. I was too late for quince this year... :(

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    1. Oh no! Hopefully you find some lucky late-season ones like I did.

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  11. Honey quince tea sounds absolutely amazing. It's a bit hot for tea here these days, but when fall rolls around, I'd love to try it! :)

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    1. Yes, this is definitely one of those seasonal things. :)

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  12. oh yum. I have quinces at home, and was thinking of how to use them. This is a nice and neat recipe.

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  13. I had grand plans to make quince paste this year, but I think they must be getting out of season as the only ones I can find don't looks that good.

    I'll have to remember this next year when I buy a big bag of quinces!

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