Quinces - the Golden Apples of Mythology
In Jewish tradition the perfumed quince was the oldest of all the fruits and was the forbidden fruit that grew in the garden of Eden. The quince pre-dates the apple and the golden apples referred to in Greek mythology are thought to be quinces. The golden apple that Paris gave to Aphrodite, which led to the Trojan War, was probably a quince. They are a symbol of fertility and love, and were sacred to Venus/Aphrodite.
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There are fruiting quinces and also flowering quinces which are grown for their blossom and not the fruit. The scientific name for the quince is Cydonia oblonga and it belongs to the Rosaceae family which also contains apples, pears and plums.
The fruit tree grows up to 8 metres high and 4 to 6 metres wide and often grows in a twisted, gnarled looking fashion. Not many people grow these trees today, which is a shame as the fruit is beautiful and unique in taste.
They fruit in late autumn/early winter and the fruit turns from green to a bright yellow. They look like large knobbly apples and have a fuzzy feel and a delicate perfumed fragrance. They need fairly low temperatures for the fruit to form properly. The fruit is quite hard and has a very gritty texture like some pears have. They are not nice raw, but are delicious stewed, which makes them turn to a pink colour, and they make delicious jelly. Quince paste is an great accompaniment to cheese, and quince wine is quite a treat.
Quince Jelly and Jams from Amazon
I haven’t tried this brand yet, but it’s hard to go wrong with quince jelly.
A three-pack of the product above.
Personally I prefer quince jelly to jam, but this one is very nice on toast.
This jam comes from Turkey and has no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours.
Quince paste from Amazon
A cheese platter can become quite special with the addition of quince paste. You can find online recipes to make your own, or buy some from Amazon so you know what it should tatste like.
Have you ever tried quince?
Quinces have been written about by Plutarch and Pliny. They were used for medicinal purposes and even get a mention in the Edward Lear poem called The Owl and the Pussycat. They were a traditional wedding night food in Roman times. There are books full of wonderful details about this special fruit.
Cooking with quinces will fill your home with a beautiful aroma. This book contains some unique recipes and is a tribute to the quince in culinary history.
Plenty of details on the propagation and cultivation of quince trees including different varieties and the type of problems they can suffer from.
This is much more than a cookbook, and covers the quince in history and literature as well as anecdotes and recipes. Once you read them you will want to try them. Next on my list is chicken with quince and walnut sauce.