Peak Season: Quince

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Do not—we repeat, do not—bite into this lumpy fruit as if it were an apple. Its astringent flesh needs to be cooked before eating (we learned this the hard way). Once mellowed by heat, the quince takes on a pinkish hue and a unique flavor that walks the line between apple and pear. Most likely your introduction to quince was in paste form as an accompaniment for fancy cheese, but it works well sliced thick in pies and tarts or poached whole with wine. Until recently it was difficult to find these versatile suckers raw anywhere in Southern California, but through the end of October you should be able to sniff out their tropical perfume at our better farmers’ markets. 
 
Photograph courtesy Wikipedia