It’s quince season right now. Quinces have a gorgeous, spicy fragrance, but must be cooked before they can be eaten; they’re rock hard and unpleasantly astringent when raw.

dixieday2 likes to poach them, and she says that, once poached, they have many uses both sweet and savory. Here’s her method: Halve and core them (or core after cooking, which is easier), cover halfway with water, add about 1/3 cup sugar, a cinnamon stick, and a couple of cloves and/or allspice berries. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, cover, and put in the oven at 300F for an hour or so; they should be very soft and pinkish in color. Let cool in syrup and refrigerate. Some uses: Chop or puree and mix with applesauce (excellent with pork); use as a topping for or blend into mashed sweet potato or butternut squash; serve the poached halves with greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey; use poached halves or slices as an accompaniment to fresh gingerbread.

Procrastibaker makes a sophisticated appetizer of chunks of quince cooked down with port, placed on pan-fried polenta rounds topped with blue cheese. She also bakes quince muffins using a basic muffin recipe and folding in chopped, quince saying it’s a nice alternative to apples.

cristina suggests finding recipes for ate de membrillo, quince paste, which is traditionally eaten with manchego cheese. It takes a long time to cook down, but is simple to make, she promises.

As with pomegranates and cranberries, the quince season is short, and they are available for only a limited time. They will last a month or so in the fridge, however, says Candy.

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