|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.
Simmer with a small knob of ginger, 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.|