Quince Poached in Rum


So, I poached a quince in rum with a little vanilla and all-spice. This was my first experience with quince (I’ve since incorporated them in a very expensive and tasty, but not very photogenic cobbler), and I went with something simple. The fruit themselves are interesting: far too astringent to eat raw, the uncooked fruit nonetheless gives off this tremendous aroma that can fill an enclosed space in little time at all, a scent somewhere between pineapple and pear. I’m tempted to buy another just to keep around for the aroma.

Anyway, after a bit of searching in the library, I didn’t really find much of interest on quince itself. The fruit seems to have once been more popular than it is today, now relegated to the exotic fruit section (even though the quince I bought was grown here in California). But otherwise, there wasn’t a lot I could find about the fruit’s history. So a bit about the other main ingredient here, which I had already known had a fascinating and turbulent history: rum.


Turns out English varieties of yeast didn’t do all that well in the colonies, and it wasn’t until hardier German varieties were introduced in America that the states began brewing in earnest. In the meantime, colonists still needed to get their drink on, and the demon rum, produced by fermenting the molasses imported in large quantities from the West Indies, quenched the colonists’ need to get crapulous. Apparently by 1700, the per capita consumption of rum among American colonists came out to around four gallons per year. Such was the demand for rum that British duties and taxes on molasses helped fuel the colonial unrest that eventually led to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The war wasn’t just about freedom; it was about the freedom to get shitfaced on a budget.

Now I doubt many of the colonists wasted good rum poaching fruit, but it didn’t turn out too shabby. I used maybe a half cup of rum, a splash of vanilla extract, and a pinch of all-spice to start, popped it in the oven, and added water as necessary to keep it from drying out. Toward the end, I sprinkled on some demerara sugar, let it sit under the broiler for a minute or two until the sugar began to brown and caramelize. Not too bad…


6 Responses to “Quince Poached in Rum”

  1. This was very interesting to read! I really love quinces and the first thing I made with these this year was also a cobbler. My next quinces will definitely be poached in rum. Beautiful pictures btw.

  2. Four gallons a year? I’ve probably drunk that much in my holly nog since Thanksgiving (I jest. A bit)!

    Anyway, that poached quince looks lovely. My Dad used to make quince jam when I was a kid; it was too tart for my childish taste, but I’d probably like it now.

  3. Oh by the way, Henry’s did have the Miso paste. Big thanks. =) I haven’t been able to try the natural foods off Arlington yet though, I think I’ll be making some butternut squash ravioli or lasagna soon though and that can be my excuse.

    I remember mentioning that to you one time and you seemed interested in the recipe. I’ve only tried the lasagna but I hear ravioli is really good as well with a lighter taste. These recipe’s use dairy but you can always “veganize” it yourself or I’m sure there’s some vegan derivatives .



  4. hoveringdog Says:

    I’m glad they had it in stock. This is the location of the place near Arlington I mentioned, by the way:


    It’s a strange and wondrous store. If ever you really, for whatever reason, desperately need vegetarian mutton balls, that’s the place to go. I’ve personally never had a need for mutton balls, vegetarian or otherwise, but you never know. More usefully perhaps, it’s one of the few places in the area that has tempeh, which is great stuff properly prepared…

  5. Not sure about mutton balls, but tempeh is peaking my interest. Seems like a tofuish product, any stronger taste. I’ve just recently started experimenting with tofu recipes; my most recent was a Tofu Marsala. But if you got any good recipes for tofu or tempeh I’d love to try them.

  6. I just found your blog and love it! Such fun food, and historical nerdery all in one place. Yay!

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