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Ornamental quince create cooking puzzle

October 9th, 2008 · 4 Comments · local food, recipes


Bring me your quince recipes. Please! My latest foraging score is my neighbor’s quince, which I’ve determined is not real quince but, rather, ornamental quince. (As an indication of my lack of quince sophistication, the ornamental variety is the only one I previously knew about.) I think it’s Pseudocydonia, however, rather than Chaenomeles (aka Japonica), but in either case known as flowering quince, a pretty shrub that my mother liked.

Quince, on the bush

In either case, also, the ornamental variety isn’t exactly known for its succulent qualities. From Cornell:

Most of these ornamentals produce fruits that are hard and nearly inedible, though they have a high pectin content and are occasionally mixed with other fruits in jellies and preserves.

And then there’s this from University of Arkansas (although it’s talking about Chaenomeles):

These tart fruit can be used in jelly making, but are usually produced erratically and in small numbers so few jelly makers ever get good at perfecting their art.

I’d be ready to give up altogether if it weren’t for the Cottage Smallholder, which has blogged about recipes for ornamental quince. The writer’s descriptions, however, are so contrary to the above two, it makes me wonder whether the fruit in (relatively) cool, moist England might be rather different from that on the frequently harsher weather side of the Atlantic.

So, if you have an opinion, or better yet knowledge, let us know. What would you do with my quince? I have about 1 1/4 pounds, and they do smell lovely. Should I attempt marmalade? Add them to an apple dish? C’mon, help me out here!

P.S. They range from about the size of a PingPong ball to the size of a handball or racquetball. Hence: I’m going for something using a food mill or such, not a recipe that involves peeling the things!

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Joanne

    Oh, I’ve always wanted to experiment with quince! I’d attempt something with a few flavors you know you’ll love…sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, apple, or other fruity bits. Cook it down, food mill it, make it into jelly or some such. Taste taste taste to be sure you’d actually eat it. (If not, that’s what a compost pile is for!) Sorry I don’t know more but I just know about this fruit from reading and occasional gourmet market viewing…

    Oh, about those honeycrisps? Get going on those. They don’t last long, and they make fabulous applesauce and aren’t good for pie. You can freeze or can the applesauce and have that sweetness all winter–worth the trouble! I add brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice, clove, and sometimes nutmeg to my sauce. I leave it chunky; no food mill for this. It’s brownish and tastes so different from the jarred variety that folks who don’t like applesauce have seconds. Well worth the work…

  • Janet Majure

    Good advice, Joanne. Maybe I’ll make that my Sunday project, although I do need to bake an apple something tomorrow. Hmm… I’m working on the Honeycrisps. Sweet work, that.

    Ha, yourself, Susan. I should make it and make you eat it!

  • Joanne

    I’ll be right over for that quince recipe, looks like a real winner! (I’ve actually bought a lamb locally and am just waiting for its date at the meat processor’s….mmmh, 40+lbs of lamb to cook this winter!)

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