Monday, October 28, 2013

The Forbidden Fruit is Sour

I maybe should change my blog name to traveling fruit for me. I seem to post a lot more about fruit than I ever do about beer and this is another long boring post about my experience with a new fruit. Strange to think about 10 years ago I could have cared less about fruit. It must be one of the many tell tail signs that I am getting old.

I was traveling in Poland and noticed on a menu they had different fruit liquors and most of the fruits I knew but there was one called Quince that I had never heard of. I thought that maybe there was not an English translation for this fruit and this was the Polish name for the fruit. I ask someone that spoke Polish about it and no they had not heard of it.We did a google search for Quince and it turned out to be the English name and the Polish name is Pigwa. Stupid me I did not ask about eating it or what it tasted like but with an idea of what the fruit looked like and the name in both English and Polish I kept my eyes open every time I saw fruit was for sale in Poland but sadly was disappointed to never find it.

I was stunned about 2 months later to step out of my guest house in Kolasin, Montenegro and see a Quince tree right in front of my face.

The fruit along with apple trees seemed to be growing all over town but I did not see any for sale in the local stores. I think I should have pulled a couple off the tree of the place I was staying. If I would have seen the person again that checked me in prior to leaving I would have tried to ask if it was OK but without asking it felt like stealing and figured I would see some for sale somewhere.

I did some reading about the fruit and it seems that it is not usually eating raw and I asked in one place I stayed and was told that eating it raw was tricky. I did not press on details on what she meant by tricky. I read one place the seeds are poisonous but it seemed this is only the case when eating tons of seeds. It is also while reading on the internet that I read that many believe that the fruit that Adam and Eve sampled in the garden of Eden was not an apple but a quince. Quince the forbidden fruit.

I did not see any quince for sale even though I saw a tree ever now and then until I reached Ohrid where it was for sale in the local farmers market.

These are the 2 I ended up buying. I think I may have been able to get a kilogram of them for the same price but I convinced them to sell me only 2.

This picture is of one of the quinces cut in half. It seems to me to have more of a core than a seeds and the core was super hard and I had a hard time cutting through it. When I cut the second one I just tried to cut the fruit away from the core rather than through it and it worked a bit better.

I tasted the fruit and it is really sour. It has the texture or an firm apple, pear or guava except for the core which is really hard more like the middle of a mango. I tried it both with peel on and off and think I preferred it without the peel but not sure enough for the work it took to remove it. The flavor reminded me a lot of snake fruit (Salak) but it may just been that both fruits shocked me with the sourness. The flavor of both fruits also grew on me as I ate more.

The following is a picture of snake fruit with and without the peel which you do not eat. Just thought I would add it in case you have not seen it. You also don't eat the seed in the middle but if you can bite into that seed you have a lot stronger teeth than me. I first tried it in Malaysia where it is is called Salak. I also tried it in Indonesia and Thailand but did not like it in Thailand where it seemed much softer and mushy.

On a friend's suggestion via email I tried to cook the second quince. I peeled it and cut it in small cubes and then cooked it in sugar water until it was soft. Either the cooking or the sugar seemed to remove most of the bitterness and I understand why it is usually cooked. This is after cooking. I read it would turn pink but mine was just a bit orange.

I also read somewhere quince's origins are from Albanian so that would explain why it appears so common in this part of the world. It may also means that this is not my last sampling of the forbidden fruit since Albanian is hopefully my next stop.

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