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. You can also use it for scraping the pith from a citrus rind, cleaning the cavity of a winter squash, and taking the choke out of an artichoke.

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 mainly use my pitting spoon for coring apples and, especially, quinces.

I don’t know where my mother-in-law bought my pitting spoon, and finding one today can be difficult. Canneries, once the main market, now use big machines instead. But here are two U. S. sources: Kitchen Conservatory and Biggest Little Kitchen Store.

If you have no pitting spoon and want to use a paring knife instead, the safest way is to lay the quince slice cut-side down on the cutting board and make two cuts, starting on either side of the core and meeting in the middle behind it.

0 thoughts on “How to Core a Quince”

  1. 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

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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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