for those with only a few quinces



A quince tree's first crop is likely to be meagre, two or three, maybe five, perhaps only one. I'm inclined to say 'be relieved your tree hasn't produced two hundred fruit'. I think between twenty and thirty is the ideal number of quinces to have; enough to make a good batch of jelly or jam, enough to make some interesting puddings and pies, enough to freeze and enough to give away. But if you are the proud owner of just a few quinces here are some ideas for making the best of them.

A single, perfect quince
Stroke it, fondle it, inhale its glorious scent. Take photos of it, share them on social media. Paint it. Put it on your mantelpiece and allow it to perfume a room for a few days.

Then peel it, core it, cut it up small and stew very gently with a very little water until tender. Sweeten and add to apples in a pie, or a crumble. 


Two, three or more quinces
Do all of the above but also consider making jelly. Three or four will make at four jars of delicious jewel-like jelly. The great thing about jelly is that you don't need a specific amount of quinces, just cook what you have in water till soft, strain and measure the resulting juice adding a pound of sugar for every pint (2½ cups) of juice.

Make quince and apple purée. I discovered the other day while making quince and apple meringue pudding from Jane Grigson's lovely book Good Things that a purée made of apple and quince is subtly nicer than one made from each fruit alone. The quince enhances the apple and the apple relieves the quince of its graininess and sometimes overpowering flavour.

Use one quince and three Bramleys (or any sharp collapsing kind of cooking apple). Melt over a low heat 2 oz (50-60g) of butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Peel and core the fruit, chop into chunks and add to the pan. Cover and cook very gently until there is about an inch of juice in the pan and the fruit is soft. I mashed mine with a wooden spoon but you can push it through a sieve for a more refined dish. Add sugar to taste -about two tablespoons seemed right for mine. You can also add a pinch of ground cloves and cinnamon although I am not sure anything with quince needs any additional flavouring and I won't add the spices next time I make it. You can, of course make a plain apple purée using this method in which case the spices would be very welcome. Here the quince is the spice.

Eat your quince and apple purée warm or cold, with or without cream, stirred into yogurt, swirled through custard, with rice pudding, on pancakes or topped with meringue as below. It would also be good with roast pork or goose. Make lots if you have lots of quinces and freeze.


Quince and apple purée

Topped with meringue

Baked and eaten

I think there are about thirty quinces on my tree, maybe less. I am not rushing to pick them all though. I shall pick as I need. I will not be making jelly this year as we still haven't begun last year's batch. I shall make more quince and apple purée and freeze some, and I shall be trying quince brandy as a change from quince vodka. Just now though I am enjoying the scent of the five quinces I have arranged on my mantelpiece.



For more quince recipes go to my recipe index on the black bar at the top of the page. You need to scroll down quite a bit.

Comments

  1. A new post from you lifts my day, x

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  2. I've just made my first ever batch of quince jelly and it smells divine.

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  3. We don't have a quince tree but we have several apple trees and lots and lots of apples. I'm baking them, eating them, drying them, freezing them and making apple butter. Oh and using with other fruit to make cordial.

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  4. Wonderful, very informative post. We have a small quince tree with apple-shaped quinces. So far, we only put them in compote or used them as air freshener 😄. Thanks for the excellent ideas.

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  5. Fantastic post, Sue.... It is informative and now I would love to get hold of a few quinces... The idea of Apple and quince topped with meringue sounds very nice, Pati x

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  6. Finding your blog … oh ..years ago now! made me long for a quince tree of my own. It never happened, but joy of joys, I was unexpectedly given a fig tree yesterday! Probably be a year or so before it fruits but I can plan and dream about the lovely dishes I might make, or just eat one, perfect, fresh fig with some mascarpone! I loved this post because it reminded me of reading that first post, then finding your freezer "hashes" , which I still make! Keep on keepin' on is all I can say!

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  7. I have one imperfect, scrumped quince without any scent - but have just had an offer of many more, hurrah! Time to unleash last year's quince/marzipan/Parmesan pie on my victims!

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    1. Chortle. Are you sure you wouldn't prefer a nice simple purée?

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  8. Anonymous5:54 pm BST

    Hi,
    I always enjoy reading your recipes and your love of quinces has inspired me to think I would like to have a go at making something. I've never seen them growing here in Canada, but when I checked our grocery store the other day, there were some , priced at 2 for $5.00!! I guess I'll just continue to enjoy reading about them.
    Marie

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    1. Just saw your message after posting below. We live in the Okanagan valley of BC, and my neighbour has a quince tree. So they do grow in Canada.

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    2. Quinces are pretty hard to find on sale here and when you do find them they are just as pricey.

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  9. I just found out that our neighbour has a quince tree. She gave us some delicious quince jelly last weekend. It made me think of you.

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  10. Your love of quinces is quite infectious. If I'm ever lucky enough to be in possession of fine quinces I shall hot foot it to your blog for ideas. In the meantime, I did make half a pot of deep rose-red, chaenomeles quince jelly from the tiny ornamental quinces left on my doorstep last week. The smell was divine and it tasted pretty good too. I've given it to my dad - his mum used to make it and it made him happy.

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    1. Someone gave me some chaenomeles jelly a few years ago and I was surprised at how similar it tasted to my quince jelly.

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    2. I think I know where I can pick some of those, so with your seal of approval I will go ahead.

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  11. I spotted a quince tree down at the allotments the other day. Maybe I'll invest in a little one myself, I'm quite obsessed with fruit trees. What I'd really like is another plot with just fruit trees on it. So glad you came back to blogging just in time for the quince harvest, I don't see them anywhere else. CJ xx

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  12. Winding Ways11:55 pm BST

    A most appreciated post! I just bought 5 quinces for US$2 a the public market. When I got home, though, I found that one had teeth marks in it. Someone got a nasty surprise.
    I'll probably enjoy mine for the scent alone for a few days, and then cook them to a puree and add to the applesauce I made the other day.

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    1. Ha! a nasty surprise indeed.

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  13. I'm ashamed to say that my tree (Vranja) produces hundreds; 99% of which end-up on the compost.

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    1. I've had a couple of years when my tree has produced upwards of 200 and yes, most ended up on the compost although one year I managed to Freecycle them to a smallholder who fed them to his pigs -delicious pork I bet. Quinces aren't like apples, they're hard work to turn into something delicious to eat so don't feel bad.

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  14. I buy my quinces, three at a time, from my local greengrocer and enjoy their scent before adding them to apple dishes. But I am very tempted to plant a tree on my allotment this winter. I liked the look of your potato, squash and chorizo bake on your previous post. Good tip about not overlooking the egg, I guess you really need the yolk runny to create some juice.

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  15. A beautiful recipe for enjoying the single perfect quince!! Jx

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  16. I found your blog after buying my pair of baby quince trees and always enjoy your autumnal quincy posts. I love the idea of putting them on the mantel! So far no quinces have appeared on my trees as yet as they are still too young but hopefully next year.

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  17. Sue, I am going to look for quince at my next farmers market visit. Might be tomorrow. I think that I would love just looking at a quince in sunlight. Your photographs of the window sill and mantle show wonderful still life arrangements. (The last time I walked through the Shakespeare Garden over in Central Park I did see that its quince had produced fruit...definitely do not touch territory!)

    The puree meringue looks pretty heavenly, too. xo

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  18. I very much applaud quinces as mantel decoration, and your chocolate cake, the easy one, was a godsend this past weekend when I had a horde of children around. They loved it.

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  19. That time of year again. Although I don't have a quince tree I do have an allotment so I know about gluts.

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  20. Good Afternoon Sue, Can I ask, what does a quince fruit smell like. You say they smell lovely... but are the perfumey? I guess they are if you display them on your mantlepiece..... they look lovely by the way, very Autumnal.
    I haven't found any quince fruit as yet..... but I am going to keep looking.
    Best Wishes
    Daphne

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    1. I'm afraid the only way to answer that is to say that they smell like quinces. They honestly don't smell like anything else, just as ginger doesn't smell like any other spice, or a rose doesn't smell like any other flower. I will say that the scent is fruity and floral, and certainly lovely.

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