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Organic Quince Fruit
The Quince Tree is Native to Asia and Can be Difficult to Grow
Grow organic quince fruit from the quince tree or quince bush; its fruit is similar to apples and makes a tasty quince jelly. The Texas scarlet flowering quince is a decorative plant that bears fruit.
Quince is native to Asia. Bearing the official botanical name of Cydonia oblonga, the quince tree grows upward of 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Quince fruit is a relative of both apples and pears, and is a vibrant yellow when it's ready to eat.
Quince Tree in History
I saw quince for the first time at a local farmer's market. There was a long line up at this one stall and when I asked what people were lining up for, I was told quince.
I bought 2 (others in line bought boxes of them) and brought them home but we didn't know what to do with them! When I cut into one; it tasted dry and bitter. I found out after that quince are often used in marmalades or jellies. Next week, I bought ready made quince jelly at the market - it was delicious!
Many historians believe that ancient references to golden apples may in fact have been the quince fruit in its fully ripe state.
We know for certain that quince appeared on the altar at ancient Greek weddings as an offering to Aphrodite (the Goddess of love and passion).
Roman recipes include quince regularly often blended with honey as a treat.
It's interesting to note that the word marmalade used to mean quince jam because marmelo in Portuguese was the quince fruit.
In Portugal, it was favored for wine making, whereas in the Middle East quince fruit appeared in numerous health preparations especially those for cough and cold.
Growing Organic Quince:
Unless you live in a warm climate, the quince tree is difficult to grow. It survives best in full sun (zones 4-6 in the US0) and sandy loam. Cross pollination improves the fruit's yield (fruit ripens in late fall similarly to apples).
Growing quince using organic methods is best for the thin-skinned fruit; and also best for you and the environment. Do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Quince was grown organically centuries ago and that is how it should be grown today; with care, attention and organic fertilizers and organic pesticides.
The Fruit from the Quince Bush:
Quince has been used around the world for a wide variety of products. In the Balkans, for example, it's favored for brandy. In Malta and Lebanon, people make it into jam. In various other regions, it's used in cooking meat, as part of stuffings, or made into dessert.
Because it is not grown in abundance, organic quince can be a challenge to find. We buy our quince fruit late in September or early October from our local farmers market on the West Coast of Canada. We typically will place an advance order in August (by visiting the farmers market stall) and ask them to phone us when it comes in. Usually all the organic quince is sold out as soon as it appears at the market.
Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince:
This is a member of the quince family that lives, as the name implies, primarily in Texas, and it does produce fruit. Unfortunately, the production is somewhat haphazard and inconsistent and getting a properly ripe fruit isn't easy. As a result, the Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince is used most often as a decorative plant.
One of the favorite ways to use quince fruit is in jelly. This particular recipe yields between 7-10 cups of finished golden color quince jelly.
Directions: Place the quince pieces in water. The amount of water can be adjusted as it should cover the fruit completely. Bring the quince fruit to a full boil and cook until soft (about 45 minutes). Put the pulp through a sieve to help extract the juices.
Next, strain out the juice from the pulp. Using cheesecloth over a pot or just a very fine mesh strainer will do the trick. You should get between 4-5 cups of juice altogether but you need to be patient. The pulp is thick and takes about 4 hours to drain thoroughly.
Do not discard the pulp. You can keep this, sweeten it and add various seasoning for cookies, pies, or other dishes in which youd normally use apples or pears. In particular cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, and nutmeg pair with quince nicely.
Transfer the juice to a non-reactive pot. Add 7/8 cup of sugar for each cup of juice you have produced. Do not use more than 5 cups juice total.
Bring the juice and appropriate amount of sugar to a full rolling boil. Quickly add the full package of fruit pectin and continue to boil for one full minute longer.
Pour the jelly into sterilized canning jars, leaving ¼" head space, and cap. Lower the capped jelly jars into a boiling water canner. Leave them for 10 minutes, then remove and cool. Lids should not flex if properly sealed (anything that does not seal must be frozen or refrigerated).
Variations: Quince fruit juice mingles well with other juices if you want something a little unique. Try substituting 2.5 cups of Mango juice for quince, or strawberry juice.
Additionally, quince jam is very tasty with finely chopped nuts in it. These should be added at the last minute of cooking (when you add the pectin) so the nuts dont get over-cooked during canning.
Additional Reading and Resources:
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Disclaimer: The content of this page is an opinion and is not meant to be medical advice. We do not make any therapeutic claims for herbal supplements. This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in providing medical advice or professional services. Please consult with your doctor, health care practioner or professional service provider for specific problems or advice. Many recipes have been tested however some are submissions: no guarantee is given that the ingredients or directions provided are correct and complete.
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