No quince will ever win a beauty contest.
But I bet if this most unusual of fruits could, it would shrug its shoulders. The quince doesn’t care because it’s the honey badger of fruit.
Though it looks like it’s having an identity crisis — is it a pear or an apple or both? And how is it part of the rose family? — what the quince lacks in visual appeal, it makes up for elsewhere.
The quince is all about substance, not flash, with its perfume of overripe tropical fruit — a gorgeous smell that demands you inhale deeply in its presence. That alone convinces me the quince should join the pawpaw and Kieffer pear on my list of fruit trees I will one day plant in my dream backyard.
Mind you, I’d never want to sink my teeth into one without cooking it and adding sugar first but I appreciate how the tart quince’s real magic is worked when its cream-coloured flesh enigmatically transforms into a sweet, pink jelly that pairs as perfectly with toast and butter as it does with a strong cheese.
While I was certain I was the last person to have ever heard of quince when a local farmer told me three years ago about how she planted lavender between her rows of her quince trees to test the herb’s potential as a natural pesticide, I learned this week that I wasn’t.
I also learned that the quince needs a new marketing strategy.
Heck, it just needs a marketing strategy. Fewer people know about this unusual fruit than I thought.