Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Making Quince Honey

Seeing as there were quinces in the store this week, I Googled my mom's memory to find out if there was anything tasty one could make with quince. "Quince honey," quoth she. It does not in fact have anything to do with honey; it's a sort of homemade jam-like/applesauce-like substance. Fannie Farmer made it with just quinces, sugar, water and lemon juice, but we laugh in the dead faaaaaace of Fannie Farmer. Aunt Louise said to make it with equal parts quinces and apples, and so I am doing so.

It's a lot easier if you actually measure out how many cups of fruit you've got. D'oh! Also, it's a really good idea not to put too much water in. Dos d'ohs! Also, Aunt Louise apparently intended one to put the sugar and water in first (making a syrup) before sticking in the quince and apple mixture. But even if it isn't exactly Aunt Louise's recipe, it's still tasting pretty good to me. In fact, I keep burning my tongue tasting the stuff as I cook it down...but that's the joy of home cuisine.

The quinces in the store are smooth-skinned and greeny yellow, and look almost like pears. (There are also woolly green-skinned quinces, which are also edible but a lot harder, but these aren't them.) You want to put them in a paper bag with some bananas until they turn bright gold and start smelling really good. (Do not put them in your fridge unless you want everything to smell like quinces.) Raw, they taste like Granny Smith apples except with a lot more pucker to them. Cooked...well, you can apparently bake them, boil them, make syrups and jellies with them (very high pectin content), turn them into pies, or put them in a lamb stew. It's all good, I bet. A very underappreciated fruit, which I am glad to have encountered.

My mother says that there are a lot of people who have quince trees somewhere on their boundaries and don't know it, or don't fully appreciate their good fortune. Apparently, along with the morel scouting and scrounging of her youth, her grandfather used to take her on country drives in quince season and relieve these poor folks of all that messy fruit they weren't using. Just like he did in mulberry and pawpaw season. Heh. I can't say as I've ever seen a quince tree around here, but then, I didn't know what quinces looked like, either. I'll have to keep my eyes open from now on.

Not that I'd scrounge, of course. Oh, no. *Guilty look overhead* I mean, just picking a few mulberries while you're passing by an abandoned tree doesn't count as scrounging, right? *Another guilty look* Though I might ask to harvest some...yeah, that's a concept....

So if you'd like to make some of the delicious quince honey I'm currently "testing", scroll down through this page of quince jellies. Remember, equal parts quinces and apples. But Aunt Louise recommended 7 and 3/4 cups of sugar for this amount of quinces and apples, not 8. Lots of other quince information is available on this page as well.


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