The quince /ˈkwɪns/ (Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive blossom and other fragrant ornamental qualities.
Quinces will start making their way to farmers markets at the end of October. If you have a grocer that will stock requests you may be able to get a few crates. Commonly they do not appear in average grocery stores, as they are not a pick up and eat type of fruit. Raw; it is a bitter fruit, not like what it becomes once cooked.
This makes Quince one of my favorites for making jellies. Added with apples and cranberries it can become a preserve with flavor and impact, especially eaten on a dry bitter cheese. The exciting news: I picked up a really rare 1909 Cookbook a few weeks back by accident. The recipe I first looked at was this one. My mission – take a recipe from long ago and convert it to modern standards.
While our season doesn’t start until October, those of you lucky enough to have your own bushes can save this for planning. Those looking for a new recipe and already have canning knowledge will be able to use this as well. Those of us new to testing recipes can mark this for work !
Here is the original recipe, with some modern phrasing updated:
Take Fine Yellow Quinces, pare quarter and core them setting aside all of these after pieces.
Placing fruit in large stock pot add just enough water to cover by an inch. Simmer until soft but not to where they begin to break.
Carefully remove fruit and spread on plates to cool.
To this water add pieces removed. Cores, seeds parings.
Stew one hour covered, then strain through a jelly bag or canning mesh into another pot.
To each 1 Pint of this liquid add 1lb of sugar.
Bring to boil, skim and begin to gently add Quinces.
Boil gently 25 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 24 hours.
This process must now be repeated as the following:
Drain off syrup into a separate pot and bring to boil, add fruit and boil gently for 15 minutes.
Spread fruit on to plates to cool trying to not break.
Bring syrup up to a rolling boil and boil down to a thick consistency.
While this is boiling fill jars 2/3 full of fruit.
Remove syrup from heat and pour over fruit.