The Quince, or 'Ayva'

Thursday July 12, 2012

By Elizabeth Taviloglu, Guide for Turkish Food

Did you know the quince, or 'ayva' is in the same family as the apple, pear, loquat and rose? Quince are a hearty bush fruit native all throughout the Mediterranean and in much of Europe.

They range in size from a large apple to a small grapefruit. They are bright yellow in color and have a core and seeds similar to an apple.

Learn about quince

The fruit itself, although tasty and tangy-sweet, is tough, fibrous and hard to cut and peel. That's why in Turkey quince are rarely eaten raw, but are preferred for use in cooked desserts, making preserves as well as for fillings in sweet pastries and pies.

In fact, quince are so tiresome to cut and eat, when Turkish people find themselves in a tough situation, they look one another in the eye and say 'ayva yedik' (ai-VAH' ye-DEEK'). It translates as 'we ate quince.'

When cooked with sugar everything changes. Cooked quince takes on a lovely color and flavor.

If you have some quince and aren't sure what to do, try my recipe for Turkish quince dessert. It looks and tastes beautiful and works well for guests, even fancy sit-down entertaining.

Are you are gardener? Find out about growing quince.

More quince recipes:

Photo © Yves Roland - Fotolia.com

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