A week of Quince - and its health benefits

This week I've decided I'll focus my blog posts on quince - that wonderful fruit that many people don't even know what it looks like, never mind what it tastes like.  Well, if you are one of those, you are missing out!  It is a great fruit and really is quite simple to prepare.  I'll take you through the stages today and then share some recipes on using the cooked quince throughout the week.  Yes, it is a fruit that needs to be cooked before you can enjoy it.  It is very tough when picked off the tree and too astringent to eat raw.

It's been a wonderful year for my quince tree again - with so many fruit. I've actually been keeping up with them better than before as I've perfected my cooking routine - and I've had a little help from my friends too, who took some to eat.

If you search for quince recipes, I bet every one - apart from those on this blog - will include plenty of sugar.  It seems all quince recipes involve baking the quince in a sugar syrup.  Well, I have to tell- it doesn't need any sugar at all!

How I cook mine is that I take the whole fruit, and use a vegetable peeler to get most of the peel off.

Then a put a few in a roasting dish and add some water and sprinkle some cloves over the top - or else add a couple of chai rooibos tea bags to the water to impart their flavor.

Then I put them in the simmering oven of my aga and let them roast for a few hours.  In fact, I once forgot them and they roasted overnight and were still delicious.

You can also roast them faster in a hotter oven - but as I have my aga - I love the slow roast method - often about 8 hours.

So put it in the oven and leave a note for yourself that they are in there and get on with the day. If you leave the house - you'll be greeted with a wonderful aroma of clove and quince spices as you come back in the door. "Smells like Christmas" as my husband would say - but anything with cloves smells or tastes like Christmas to him! (I try to tell him that cloves are for more than Christmas day!!!)

When they are cooked, just let them cool and then cut off the fruit from the core and either slice or puree in a blender and use in many different ways as I'll show you throughout the week.

And the health benefits of quince?

Quince is a low calorie fruit with good amounts of fiber.  There is a certain grittness in the pulp which comes from the tannins catechin and epicatechin. These are the same chemicals in green tea that contribute to its health benefits. These chemicals bind to cancer-causing toxins and chemicals in the colon and protect the mucous membrane from inflammatory bowel disease, cancers and diverticulitis.

It has many phenolic compounds in it which gives it a unique fragrance.  And has high concentrations of Vitamin C so helps boost immunity, reduce viral episodes and inflammatory conditions.

It is also a good source of copper, iron, potassium and magnesium, along with B vitamins.

So not only does it taste good - it is good for you!

As my friend just told me this week after she tried one of our quince:

"So much better than even the best baked apple I've ever eaten. What a treat, and  a happy discovery"

Get discovering for yourself and I'll share some recipes throughout the week!

It's quince time!


Kitchen tools - Lekue steamer

The latest addition to my kitchen is a Lekue steamer.  Its a Danish design and I'm loving it!  I've never done much steaming - but in this past week, that's changed. I think I've done some every night.

The only problem is that I have steamed food and then eaten it and forgotten to take any blog worthy photos.

Who knew how tasty steamed food, picked straight from your garden, could be?  Well, maybe loads of people - but I've only just found out.

It seems my favorite is steamed potatoes and steamed broccoli.  Even my husband loves the steamed broccoli.  Neither of us thought he'd eat it but I put it on his plate -and he more than ate it - he enjoyed it!!

And the steamed potatoes?  Amazing.  I LOVE steamed potatoes. Dig them out of the ground, wash them, cut them up, steam for 6 minutes.  It cooks them so beautifully - really evenly cooked throughout.

Anyhow - enough drooling. Onto the Lekue.  It's a silicone piece of cookware and I bought the bright lime green one - as that's my favorite color. It also comes in white and red.  The one I bought was for 3-4 people.  It really shouldn't be labelled 3 -4 people. Not if you are a big veggie eater like me.   I can't imagine the 1 - 2 person size. You could hardly fit anything into it.

So go for the large size.

You put 2 tablespoons of water in the bottom and then add the little tray.  Add the food. Close it up and now you can steam it in the microwave or in the oven.  Perfect!

Open it up carefully so you don't scald yourself and your food will be perfectly steamed and delicious and nutritious.

I've done apples in it too and lots of different vegetables.  I can't believe its taken me all these years to get into steaming. But Lekue has done it!  I wonder what tonight will bring?????

My new kitchen tool of the week.
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