QUINCES, A DELIGHT FOR ALL SENSES
When we moved to the farm many years ago we found these scraggly trees that produced some beautiful blossoms in May and then set fruit. By early October this fruit had turned a beautiful yellow and the smell was terrific, perfume like. I was surprised by the soft and fuzzy feel of the skin. I had no idea what they were.I put them in a glass bowl with some branches and it made a great centerpiece. Soon after I was at a weekend market and saw them there. I had two quince trees as it turned out. The quince tree is resistant to frost and requires a cold period below 7 degrees Celsius to flower, no problem. Quinces are some times called quince pears. Quinces have been around for a long time. In ancient Greece a bride would nibble a quince to perfume her kiss and the Romans stewed quince with honey. I can not eat the quinces from my garden, they are rock hard and stoney. In some climates where summers are hot and long there is a chance that the fruit ripens and can be eaten raw. Over the years I have made lots of different preserves from these quinces. A neighbour gave me a recipe for Paradise Jelly, a very fragrant jelly great for toast or serving with cheese. I tried my hand on quince candies. Turned out really good, turkish fruit like. The kids did not want to eat them and I really did not need to consume them all by myself so no more quince jellies for my family. No use having fruit that is only beautiful, so in my quest to find something to do with them I stumbled on quince syrup. It is now a staple in my pantry. Its usages are endless. I compare it to a fragrant,fruity pancake syrup. It is now a necessity in my Dutch apple tart. Tasty on pancakes and crepes, wonderful on vanilla ice-cream and added to the pan after frying some pork, makes a great gravy. Quince syrup is very easy to make, simmering water with sugar and some quinces in it till the liquid is syrup like. Hardly a recipe but I will include it anyway.
- 1 kg sugar
- 1 litre water
- up to 3 quinces
- Put all ingredients in a heavy bottomed preserving pan such as Falk
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer softly for 3-4 hours.
- Strain syrup and pour into a preheated glass jar.
- Keeps in fridge up to 1 year.