The fruit last week at my fall CSA was quince, which I was stared at rather dubiously. For those not familiar with this autumn fruit, it’s sort of like a really hard apple that has pear characteristics. But instead of just being able to munch on it, you have to do something with it to make it more edible – like roast it or poach it. Last time we got it, I poached it in honey, vanilla, sugar, whiskey, and water to use in a crumble, mixing the leftover syrup in sparkling wine for a nice cocktail. But that’s a little high-maintenance.
Then the CSA person mentioned something about, “or you can just stick it in whiskey in a jar and let it seep.” With the magic word whiskey, that quince started to look a little friendlier. I took all 3 pounds, picked up some jars, and grabbed a bottle of bourbon.
A short internet search showed, yes, you can just stick it in whiskey in jars and let it sit in your cupboard. You can also add spices, like a cinnamon stick or cloves. Or sugar and honey. But the fruit is sweet already, and I was curious to see what happens when the flavors of the whiskey party with just the flavor of the quince. I considered rye – might be interesting. Spicy with the autumn fruit thing. But I settled for bourbon because I really wanted those honey and vanilla flavors.
I got a bottle of Four Roses, the standard one with the yellow cap. At $22, it’s a good bourbon that I often use in baking. But turns out quince goes a long way in little pieces and the jars I picked up were filled with only 4 quince. I had 3 more to go. So I went to my cupboard stash and pulled out one of my W.L. Wellers. I know I said I would stop using W.L. Weller in recipes because it is so annoyingly hard to find and I like it so much. But because of both of those reasons, it happened to be the only bourbon I had. I had been hoarding the three bottles I picked up last time I found it at a store.
The Weller 107 is pretty high proof to unleash on those little quince pieces. The Four Roses is only 80 proof. But I figured, this won’t turn out bad even if it’s not quite what I expect. The worst thing that can happen is it mostly tastes like W.L. Weller. I wish I could say that about all recipes: “My boeuf bourguignon didn’t quite turn out, but at least it tastes like W.L Weller.”
I cut the quince into little pieces, put them in the jars, covered them with bourbon, and they are now resting peacefully at the back of a cupboard. In about 5 weeks, I’ll taste the results, and if I like them, I will give them as holiday gifts. And if I really like them, I will drink them and give people cards instead.