27 Oct 2019

What to do with quince? How about spiced?




From the moment I discovered the edible fruits of flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica), I desperately wanted to try the perfumed real thing - the fruits of the quince tree Cydonia oblonga - without any idea of what to do with them. As ever, I've found out by doing it.


If I remember correctly, my first foray into cooking with quince (Chaenomeles) was to make Membrillo aka quince cheese.  Which, confusingly, is not a cheese at all but a firm jelly to eat with cheese.  Also it was brown and I'd read that real quince fruit from the Cydonia oblonga tree is a more enchanting jewelled pink colour when cooked. That's certainly true of Quince Jelly.

Since then, I've added a quince tree to the veg patch 'orchard' and tried various ways of cooking the fruit. I haven't repeated the membrillo experiment but have made quince crumble (too acidic but okay if you mix it with apple), had it in tea with honey (nice), made jelly, pure├ęd with apple and this year, poached with spices. I'm still waiting to taste but, yes, the jars are pink.

And that's it for this year so thoughts of a quince, apple and sultana strudel will have to wait until next year.

A recipe for Spiced Quinces

Any number of quinces, start with 6 or 8
Sea Salt
Coriander seeds
Cumin seeds
Granulated Sugar
Apple Cider vinegar

Wash, peel and core the quinces, cutting each fruit into 8 pieces.  Put into a pan and just cover with cold water. Add about 15ml sea salt (a dessertspoonful), bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain the liquid into a jug and return the fruit to the pan.

Measure the cooking liquid.  For every 600ml of liquid, add 450g of granulated sugar, 150ml vinegar, 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds and ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds (both seeds having been gently roasted in a heavy pan. (Make sure not to burn the seeds!)

Pour the spiced liquid over the quinces and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until fruit is tender. Remove the quinces to a warmed, sterilised jar and continue cooking the liquid in the pan for another 10 minutes to make a thick syrup.  Pour the hot syrup over the quinces and seal the jars.

These need to be left for 3 weeks to infuse so label and date the jars before putting away.

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