Membrillo // Quince
Although not used in a multitude of recipes in Peru, the quince makes an appearance now and then.
The quince is grown on trees and is related to apples and pears. You would suppose that even just by looking at it! The fruit is usually yellow to green on the outside, covered by a layer of fuzz. Once peeled, the fruit is a light yellow color which quickly turns reddish upon contact with the air. In reality, the quince is not eaten like other pome fruits – you would not typically just take a bite from it and enjoy the juicy, sweet flavor…it has neither! You can allow it to stay on the tree and continue to ripen until it reaches a state in which the raw fruit could be eaten. However,
The quince is used for things like jams, wine, and even made into dulce de membrillo, a sweet paste often paired with cheese, in Latin American countries. Additionally, some countries use the fruit for its medicinal properties. The pits can be soaked in water, the drunk as an alcohol free cough medicine. The jam, stirred into boiling water, is drunk for intestinal issues. The seeds in several countries are used to combat pneumonia.
Here in Peru, the most popular way I see quince used in boiled with other fruit to make the delicious Chicha Morada drink.