Sometimes I get stuck in a rut, where I don’t find anything inspiring and the idea of baking is just totally unappealing. I’ve been stuck in that the last few weeks, and then my dietitian asked me to reflect on my motivations for baking and I started to think “maybe baking isn’t actually healthy for me like I think…” But then along came Quince.
What is a Quince? Apparently it’s a fruit that’s totally spongey, hard and gross to eat raw, but when cooked is totally amazing. Also apparently it’s high in pectin so it’s great for jam. Who knew?
One of the partners at my office brought them in as part of our standard “fruit Tuesday” offerings (yeah, it’s a pretty amazing perk of working here). He was making a joke, “what are Quince? I don’t know but we have 5 tries to find out”. So I googled them and found that they were a pretty terrible addition to the fruit table since no one could eat them.
So I offered to cook them up into something for the office and started a hunt for a recipe, and I felt my whole self light up. I’ve been down, aimless and all together just unengaged in life since coming back from the hiking trip, but suddenly having this opportunity to create with this new fruit, new flavor… I felt the excitement and the joy and just bring me back to the present.
It actually felt kind of special to be actively looking for the reason and discovering it so strongly. So while I am kind of annoyed at my dietitian for trying to question my motives, I’m so happy to have identified them, and now I can put them into words. I’m not baking to make food I can binge on/control food and then restrict it to make me feel stronger… I’m baking to create, because creating something from nothing/something totally different makes me feel so incredibly joyous and full of life, feelings that are often missing in a life with an eating disorder.
But on to this Quince butter. Honestly, just using quince will make a delicious fruit butter, but you can mix in pears or apples and have amazing results as well. You basically just grate 5 pounds of fruit into a slow cooker, cook it down for four hours with the lid on and a little bit of sugar. Then you blend it, remove the lid, and let it simmer out as much moisture as you’re patient for.
This is where mine was after 5 hours post blend. I made a batch before that went for a whole 8+, but I didn’t stir it at any point so it LOOKED burnt. It didn’t taste burnt though, it was actually totally amazing. So if you accidentally “burn” your butter a little, eat it anyway. So so so good.
I’ve been eating this regularly on english muffins with almond butter. It’s great. Fruity, vanilla-y, creamy. Lovely.
- 5 pounds quince (you can replace up to 2.5 pounds with pears or apples or both)
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Peel, core and grate all your fruit into a slow cooker. Add in the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and stir.
- Turn your slow cooker on high, and allow the fruit to cook for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, blend your fruit - either with a blender or in batches in a food processor. Then return to the slow cooker
- Cook uncovered on high for another 5-10 hours. You want to try and stir when you can, otherwise some of the pieces will brown a bit too much. When it gets to a consistency you like (nice and thick, not super wet) then remove and store in sanitized jars in the fridge. Enjoy as you would jam!