When is Quince ripe?
I just found out that the property I work at has four quince bushes. A third of the fruit has already fallen onto the ground and is shriveling. A third is still on the bush, but shriveling. The last third is still on the bush but really, really hard.
I've never done anything with fresh quince and don't have a clue....
The shriveled ones are gone. The really hard ones are probably dead ripe. Quinces have to be cooked to be eaten. You should peel them and then simmer in a simple syrup until tender.
They'll turn yellow and smell like flowers and vanilla. Quince do ripen off the tree, so you might as well pick some and bring them inside and see what happens after a few days or several.
They will still be hard and need to be cooked, though.
Deborah Madison is a big advocate for quince, she has recipes using quince in several of her books. In 'Local Flavors' she has a delicious-looking recipe for quinces poached in syrup. Maybe your local library has the book?
Also, she and others like to add one quince to apple pie. I've done it (slice the quince the way apple is sliced) and it's ok.
Madison also boils the pips (seeds) of quince to make an infusion that she says is good against sore throat.
I had a recipe for an easy quince compote to eat with cheese, it was good also but I don't know where I got it from. Membrillo, the famous Spanish paste eaten with cheese or sausage, is made of quince, actually.
And then supposedly you can put a quince in a dresser drawer and, supposedly, as it dries it releases a very nice aroma for the clothes. But *I've never tried this* so I don't really know.
Maybe you'd also like to look in www.epicurious.com and do a recipe search for "quince", I guess they have to have some stuff.
The fruit on ornamental quince shrubs is, IIRC, not really worth cooking and eating. Those varieties are cultivated for their flowers rather than their fruits.