Quynces ripe

Take quynces ripe and pare and hue hem small
And al for smal, but kest away the core 
In honey then upboile hem, lese and more 
De peur (or ginger) with yt boyling, smalest grounds, 
This is the first mannere, the seconds…. 
is to boil with honey till well thicke…



Taken from Dorothy Hartley’s Food in England by Palladius. She tells us that quince is hard and pear shaped, bright yellow when ripe and red when cooked. It has a most delicious aroma.

I bought a bagful from the grocers – eight in all. They will keep in the fruit bowl for a few weeks.

Jane Grigson has a few pages on quince in her book Good Things. Perhaps the most tempting recipe is a Moroccan Meat Stew made with chicken, ginger, butter and quince. I am not sure I will be able to persude the children but I might do it for myself on Friday evening.

Christopher Lloyd repeats the recipe in his book Gardener Cook and notes that he had scribbled into the margin of his battered old copy of Good Things so good and easy.

He suggests that should you see a quince tree in someone else’s garden laden with heavy yellow fruit in late October you should not be shy of knocking on the door to enquire as to whether they are willing to share that autumns harvest. I remember walking through Woodstock many years ago and seeing just such a quince tree bowed down with the weight of its fruit. Of course I walked on rsather than knocking on the door.

We have a small quince bush against the wall in the veg plot but although it flowers well it has not given any fruit much larger than a marble. However it seems to be doing better each year – last year the fruit grew no bigger than a pea.

This afternoon I am going to cook two of quinces I bought from the grocers in syrup and lemon juice.The recipe comes from Simon Hopkinson’s The Vegetarian Option. The quinces need to be quarted and put into a lidded oven dish with 8 tablespoons of syrup, a teasoppon of lemon juice and a few grindings of white pepper. He actually suggests maple syrup but wasn’t able to pick that up yesterday and I am sure that Lyle’s Golden will work just as well.

The dish goes into a low oven for an hour until the fruit is tender. He suggests eating it whipped cream flavoured with eau de vie an olf bottle of which we have in the basement.

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