Sunday, 1 November 2009

Quince upon a time



Forgotten member of the apple and pear family, the quince is an ancient fruit native to the warmer climes of southwest Asia.

Quince trees are now relatively rare in Britain but Norton Priory, in Cheshire, oversees the national collection, protecting more than 20 varieties.

Although the trees are aromatic, the fruit is bitter and hard when eaten raw. When cooked, however, quinces release a sweet, fragrant flavour. They also contain pectin, which make them ideal for jams and jellies.

Norton Priory hosts a quince festival this weekend with tours, tastings and recipe demonstrations (nortonpriory.org). Like Spanish membrillo, the jelly is best eaten with cold meats and Manchego cheese or used in fruit tarts with apples. Quinces poached with sugar and lemon juice are a good match for Greek yoghurt and honey or a soft goat’s cheese.

Bramley and Gage produce a quince liqueur (£11.64; bramleyandgage.co.uk), that won “best drink” in the Taste of the West awards last year. This home-grown version of a dessert wine has aromas of dates and figs and uses the pear-like “vranga” variety grown at Clay Barn Farm in Essex.

5 comments:

Helen said...

I love quinces, my mother has a quince tree that is always dripping with fruit, she used to make jam and I remember having stewing quinces on my breakfast. I am sure that I have seen a recipe for quince brandy somewhere in the last week or two but cannot remeber where.

jamescbartlett said...

I've just spent Sunday making quince jelly and quince cheese (membrillo). Second year now, always good fun and they make great Xmas presents. I use the ornamental quince (japonica) as that's what I can get, would live to try with the real fruit to see if it's any different.

artichoke said...

Great idea for presents James - such a lovely colour. And what a healthy start to the day - stewed quinces, Helen - presumably without the brandy for breakfast!

yourfoodchoices said...

I've seen these interesting fruits in our local produce market, but I've never known what on earth to do with them. Thank you for this terrific post! I have a pate sucre in the freezer that now seems to perfect base for a sweet quince tart. Your post will serve as inspiration.

Cheers,
Steve
http://yourfoodchoices.wordpress.com

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