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Instead of quince?

I recently got a cookbook on iranian/persian cuisine and have my eyes set on several recipes. I've been looking for quince but at the most reputable veggie shop I only found one. Any ideas on what can replace it, if anything?
The book is New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij.

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  1. Quince tastes sort of like a combo apple/pear...so maybe either one of these? Also, if your recipe tilts toward the sweet side, you could use membrillo...it's a Portuguese quince paste often served with cheese....

    1. have you looked for quince in a cheese shop or the fine cheese section of your grocery store? it's usually sold there because it pairs so well with cheese.

      1. Where are you located? Quince is not yet in season, although you will probably start seeing them late summer. Fall is when they hit their stride.
        It is such an aromatic fruit, and changes so much in the cooking process that I think any substitute would be lacking, and results would be very different.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rabaja

          Yeah,, I usually don't see them until late Sept. early Oct. I guess if you had to substitute something a very firm tart apple would be closest but not the same.

        2. I assume you are is looking for the fresh quince, not quince paste or jelly that is served with cheese.
          Quince is a very unique fruit that is available beginning in September (give or take) and will be available through December or a little later because they store so well. It looks like an elongated golden apple and has a drier consistency but without much sugar. It really depends on your recipe if you can substitute apples or pears but I would wait for a month or two.

          1. Nothing else really tastes quite like quince - they have a very floral component lacking in apples and pears - and IMX you won't find the whole fruit in places like cheese stores. You will often find the a sweetened quince paste that's eaten with cheese, but not the fruit itself which is almost rarely eaten raw. (It won't hurt you, but they're not sweet and even ripe are almost as hard and dry as potatoes. I thought no one ever ate them raw, but recently came across a vague reference that may or may not have been accurate, suggesting they sometimes are.)

            Quince aren't in season now anyway, but you might find some decent hard pears around. Seckel pears are used similarly in other cultures, so while they won't taste the same, the idea is there and in concept are reasonably "authentic" if not Iran-specific. Failing that, an underripe Bosc or even Anjou would be better than nothing, but keep in mind that quinces are hard and dry - they take quite a lot of cooking without falling apart. So either find something of similar texture or add it further along in the cooking process.

            1. Quince is unique and not now in season. One of the very few truly seasonal fruits remaining in the US, like cherries, which is actually something to celebrate. There is no real replacement; wait till fall to do the recipes you need for quince. It's always a bad idea to use substitutions before you've done the recipe at least once as written; it will forever mar your understanding of how the recipe is intended to taste.

              1. If you're in the New York area, wait a few weeks, then pay a visit to The Cloisters, the medieval art museum in Washington Heights (upper Manhattan--take, as the song says, the A train, to 191st St.) Besides being a terrific museum it's got a garden, officially known as the Bonnefont Cloister, with four quince trees that were absolutely loaded with fine, unblemished fruit when I visited last October. Ask and they'll let you pick a few.

                1. as everyone has said, you'll have to wait till oct-nov for ripe quinces. So yu have a few months to build up a repetoire of recipes. Martha Stewart has several.

                  Take care: do NOT put quince peelings down the garbage disposal. They'll gum it up like EZcrete! into the compost with them! They have lots of pectin in them, so if you're making jams without commercial pectin, add quince peels for a lovely aroma, color, and jelling capability.

                  Quinces when fully ripe are a lovely soft yellow. Green is not ripe. The aroma should be almost intoxicating. I carry a few unblemished ones in my car during the fall for a natural air freshener.

                  1. When ripe they also have a very soft white fuzz which I believe is called "pubescence."

                    1. Thanks everyone :). I live in Sweden and although I've travelled extensively I will unfortunately not make my way to New York anytime soon. Otherwise that would have been an option. We have a very good fruit and veggie shop here and the proprietor will order in quince when it's in season.

                      I'll be waiting until the quince ripens, just foregoing on plans to sub in the quince for something else.
                      From reading a bit about them I generally kind of assumed that since they taste like a combo of pear/apple (according to various fruit guides), that they would be ripe at the same time as most apples and pears.

                      I'm planning to cook a khoresh, like a meaty stew and a kuku (egg dish) so the portugese quince jelly isn't an option. And it makes sense to assume that subbing in the quince for apple and/or pear would mar my experience with the dishes. I will indeed collect recipes until I can get my hands on quince.

                      On the subject of cheese: I've grown very attached to fig preserves to cheese but I bought some of the quince jelly to try that on my next time out.

                      Another book by the same author is Silk Road Cooking. Only vegetarian recipes from countries which the silk road runs through but great for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

                      1. Hey there try the chinese pear apple it is available almost all the time in china town or the speciality stores. The big box stores carry it some times but usually in the holiday season.. It can be eaton raw as it is sweet and succulent without cooking. Hope that helps.