Quince is an ancient fruit, found in Roman cooking and grown across Turkey and southeast Asia. It grows on small trees and is closely related to apples and pears, but it lacks their immediate edibility and appeal. The fruit is knobbly and ugly, with an irregular shape and often a gray fuzz — especially when the fruit has been picked underripe. The ripest, nicest quince will have a golden tone and smooth skin like pictured directly above. But even ripe quince doesn’t taste very good raw.
Quince was popular in 18th century New England. Nearly every home had a quince tree in the yard because quince provided a natural and plentiful source of pectin that was necessary for home canners to ensure that preserves they were putting up for the winter were properly set and preserved. After powdered pectins were invented, quince fell out of favor.
The first clue that quince hides something special is its aroma. If you leave a quince on a sunny windowsill it will slowly release a delicate fragrance of vanilla, citrus, and apple into your kitchen. It’s a heady, perfumed scent that is completely at odds with its appearance. Maybe this is why the quince is slowly making a comeback and is celebrated at White Silo Farm in Sherman on November 2, and November 3 at the 6th annual Quince Festival from 12 noon to 5 p.m.
They will be serving 6 scrumptious dishes made with quince. Their menu includes Butternut squash and quince soup; Quince Cippolini onion and bacon; Quince Pumpkin, quinoa salad with pomegranate seeds; Quince and Manchego Empanada; Panacotta with spiced quince and amaretti and hazelnut crumble; Quince gingerbread cake; and Pretzels with quince mustard.
Admission is free. Pay for wine and food. Quince mustard and Quince jam will be available to take home. There will be live music on Saturday from 1 pm to 4 pm with the Hummingbirds and live music on Sunday, from 1pm-4 pm with Al Rivoli. Free outdoor tours weather permitting.