How to Core a Quince

Around the seed cavity of a quince is a hard core of flesh that tends to stay hard after cooking. When a recipe requires coring a quince, you’ll want to remove all of this hard flesh. Doing so can be difficult; a sturdy paring knife will suffice, but only if looks don’t matter much. After accidentally cutting crosswise through a few quince slices, you may find yourself hunting through your Drawer of Useful Things (as I call mine) for a more appropriate tool.

Forget the pear corer; it’s too flimsy. What you need is the tool pictured here, a pointed spoon with sharpened sides. Best known as a peach pitter or pitting spoon, it’s designed for jabbing into a stone fruit and withdrawing the pit while leaving the fruit intact. My mother-in-law probably thought I knew what a peach pitter was when she bought me mine, at least a dozen years ago, but I didn’t, and in fact I’ve never tried to pit a peach while leaving it whole. I’ve often used my pitting spoon for scraping the white pith from citrus rinds. Its main use in my kitchen, though, is in coring apples and, especially, quinces.

I don’t know where my mother-in-law bought my pitting spoon, but finding one today can be hard. Canneries, once the main market, now use big machines instead. But I’ve found one online source: the Organic Tool Company of Turlock, California. Have a look at Pitting Spoon No. 2, priced at $12, and at the many other uncommon tools for the farm, garden, and kitchen in the OTC catalog.

Does anyone know of another source for pitting spoons?

About Linda Ziedrich

I grow, cook, preserve, and write about food in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
This entry was posted in Fruits, Sweet preserves and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to How to Core a Quince

  1. Julia says:

    Linda, I live in Colorado. The only retail outlet with quince is Whole Foods, which is selling conventional quince at $4/quince. Do you know of anyone who is selling organic quince via mail order?
    Thanks.
    Julia

    • Julia,
      From a 2009 Los Angeles Times article by David Karp, here is a list of quince growers:

      Gonzaga Farm (Ronnie and Tess Gonzaga). Pineapple quince grown in Lindsay, California
      Mud Creek Ranch (Steve and Robin Smith). Organic Pineapple and Golden quince grown in Santa Paula, California
      Oregon Quinces (Tremaine and Gail Arkley). Fresh Pineapple and Russian varieties of quince. 9775 Hultman Road, Independence, Oregon; (503) 838-4886
      Terry Ranch (Rebecca and Mark Terry). Pineapple quince grown in Dinuba, California
      Willowrose Bay (Edith Walden). Aromatnaya, Cooke’s Jumbo, Havran, Karp’s Sweet, Kaunching, Kuganskaya, Meech’s Prolific, Lisle, Smyrna, Tashkent, Van Deman. P.O. Box 1652, Anacordes, Washington; (360) 299-9999

      As far as I know, none of these people sell routinely by mail order. But it doesn’t hurt to ask! Please let us know if you have any luck.

  2. That looks like a great quince cutting tool. I had a hard time with mine.
    I was lucky to get some local ones at the store I work at– yum. What did you make?

  3. Jess says:

    What a fantastic tool, and thanks so much for finding a source for us. I wish I’d had one when I made my quince jelly this year. I find they also stain my hands if I process a lot of them.

  4. keapdx says:

    A pitting spoon! That’s what the garage sale find is. Now, how to sharpen….

  5. Barbara says:

    Hi Linda,
    I sell Quince Coring Tools on my Queen of Quince web site! It’s the peach corer renamed for quince. Since I’m the Queen, I can do that! Hope you are well! Quince on, my friend.

    • Barbara, thank you for that information. Everyone, Queen Barbara Ghazarian is the author of Simply Quince, a lovely book that she published herself. I consult it often, especially this time of year, when my house and garden are filled with the pineapple-like aroma of quinces. To order Barbara’s book or quince corer or learn more about quinces, see her website at http://queenofquince.com.

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