Quince is one of the few fruits which cannot be eaten raw: it must be cooked and then can be served as an accompaniment to game dishes, added to a good allioli (garlic mayonnaise), or used to make jams, jellies and even liqueurs and the typical ratafía liqueur. The quince tree (Cydonia oblonga) is originally from the East, and may live to 150 years old; it is unmistakable when it is laden with quince. This fruit is shaped like a lumpy pear, yellow when ripe, and has an extraordinary aroma. These trees often grow around the farmhouses of country people, and can be found on the verges of paths. Collection begins in September, and although the fruit is not at all sweet but rather astringent when picked, this disappears with cooking. Quince jelly is one of the most popular preserves in Catalonia, and is usually eaten with a good chunk of cheese.
Scrub the skin of the quince to remove the bloom. Cut the quince into quarters and remove the seeds. Place inside a square of muslin and tie firmly. Place the quince in a pan of water with the lemons cut into slices and the muslin bag with the seeds. Simmer for half an hour until the pieces of quince are soft. Strain the juice. Weigh it. For each litre of juice, add 600 grams of sugar and return to the heat for another half hour until it reaches the right density. Remove from heat, skim off the foam and place in jars to sterilise. The jelly is now ready. To prepare the quince, remove the muslin bag with the seeds and the slices of lemon. Peel the pieces of quince and press them through the food mill. Weigh the paste and add 800 grams of sugar for each kilo of pureed quince. Cook in the same pan over high heat and stirring continually with a wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Take care, as it splatters considerably. Once it has reached the desired texture, grease a mould with sunflower or almond oil and pour in the quince jelly. Smooth with a spoon and cover with greaseproof paper. Store in the fridge. If it is placed in a preserve jar and sterilised, it can be stored in the larder without any problem.