Pitted: Handling Quinces

How cooking quinces for making fruit butter is different than apples.
(Rebecca Peloquin/For The Times)

This story is a component of the feature “Seasons of Preserves: Apple Butter,” which is part of a four-part series on preserving fruit at home called “L.A. in a Jar.”

Quinces, an intensely aromatic pomme fruit related to apples and pears, are another hallmark fruit of fall. However, because they’re time-consuming to cook, many people overlook them. They have a fuzzy layer on the outside that must be brushed off before cooking, but otherwise you can treat them mostly like apples — they just need to be cooked longer.

If you want to make a fruit butter with them, you will follow the same steps as with making apple butter, but you’re going to have to cook the quinces not for 20 to 30 minutes, but about 1½ to 2 hours. Once the quinces turn from pale white to a rosy pink and you can slide a paring knife in and out of the pieces easily, you know they’re done. Strain and process them in a food mill and proceed with the recipe as directed.