Wednesday, October 29, 2008

getting to know quinces, getting to know all about quinces

(Sung to the tune of that song from The King and I--I don't care if the meter is wrong!)

Here is what I know about quinces:

They are very fragrant and do, in fact, perfume the whole room.
I think Nate's grandma's tree is a Pineapple Quince, because that's what these quinces smell like.
They are in the Rosaceae family, so they're cousins to apples, cherries, pears and such.
They are very high in pectin and help with the jelling of other fruits in baked goods.
They are fuzzy like a peach, but hard like an unripe pear.
When raw they are inedible.
They taste yummy when they're cooked.
They take a terrifically long time to cook.

Making quince preserves:

I altered a Martha recipe somewhat, because I looked at the equal parts of quinces and sugar and said, "No, thank you." Refer to Martha for the ingredient list.

Wash the quinces and pull off any leaves or stems, then put them in a pot with 5 cups of water and (if you're me) 2 cups of honey or (if you're not me) 1/2 cup of sugar. Bring them to a boil, then reduce heat and let them simmer until they're tender (mine took about 2 hours).

Once they're tender, remove them from the pot, reserving the liquid. Let them cool enough to chop them into big pieces (I forgot to take a picture of this part), then return them to the pot, seeds, skins and all. Add the lemon juice and (if you're not me) the remaining 5 cups of sugar.

Stir them and let them cook for eleventy billion years until they're soft and the liquid has thickened. They should get to about 220* on a candy thermometer.

Plop the mess into a sieve and moosh it through the mesh with a spoon. Or use a food mill or something fancy if you must. Give the leftover gook to your chickens.

So sparkly!

This is how much I got. Not 7 cups, if you're wondering. But I only need 1 1/2 cups for the cake I'm making, so that's okay. I think the honey-for-sugar swap may have affected the results.

And all I had to do was dirty every dish in my house!

If anybody was wondering, quince preserves taste equally great on both Wensleydale and Midnight Moon.

So if you see some quinces, snatch them up and make some preserves. Or put one under your armpit and give it to your husband. Oh, wait. I think that's supposed to be an apple. Well, preserves it is, then!


Matt and Emily said...

I've ever heard of quinces, at least not that I remember. Your preserves look yummy.

All8 said...

They are a beautiful color. Yeah, it's probably the sugar that increases the yield. Sounds wonderful.

tipsybaker said...

I love the quince on cheese -- that looks great. And I'm so glad about the perfuming of the room! Maybe I can plant a fruiting quince. We're almost to bare-root time, aren't we.