At the Sebastopol farmers market onn Sunday, with summer produce, especially tomatoes, begging for attention, Three Ox Farm of Sebastopol had a basketful of ripe quince, suggesting that not all produce is late this year. My quince tree is full and fruit has begun dropping to the ground, even though most of it is not quite ripe. It looks like I will be making quince paste sooner than I expect.

It’s good timing, as I have just one jar left from 2009. My attempt to make quince paste last year failed. I experimented by making it in a slow-cooker but it didn’t work. Apparently, not enough liquid evaporated, as the paste never set up. The whole thing ended up in the compost. Now you know.

A single ripe quince and a jar of quince paste, with my quince tree in the background

Here are some of my favorite quince recipes. For quince paste, you needn’t make a full batch. You can cut it down, using just a quince or two, and see if you like it. It is a manageable way to get to know one of the world’s great condiments. It is quite common in Spain, where it is known as membrillo and is served in salads and with cheeses.

Quince Paste

Chicken with Quince, Reisling and Raisins

Quince Compote with Orange Zest & Pomegranates

Quince & Raisin Strudel