VERANILLO DEL MEMBRILLO
It's a seasonal swan song, a few hot and heady days in which temperatures rise before starting the drop into autumn; an Indian summer known here as a veranillo de San Miguel, or veranillo de los arcángeles or veranillo del membrillo for the quince - membrillo - which are ripe for the picking right now.
Quince have the appearance of fuzzy, ungainly golden apples and have a rose and honey scent, but, in this part of the world at least, are rock solid until boiled and boiled. There's speculation the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was a quince (although surely it would have been something more juicy), and the fruit figures large for the ancient Greeks too – as a beauty contest prize for Aphrodite, a symbol of love, presented as love tokens and shared by bridal couples on their wedding nights – a practice that continued into the middle ages. For reasons that aren't particularly clear, in the Roman mosaics and murals of Pompei, quinces feature in the paws of bears.
Aside from carne de membrillo, a fairly solid jelly used to accompany meat and cheese, the quince in modern day Andalucia is often peeled, quartered and served poached and sweet (take time, use wine) but it also makes a fine pickle. If you soak the seeds you end up with a slimy mush which traditionally has been taken mixed with water to soothe stomach ailments. Maybe we'll find a volunteer and test that out.