Sorry. I had to get back online just to rave about my experimental quince jam. In years past, I've tried to find uses for the quinces when they're ripe, but most recipes tend to be pretentious ones requiring numerous ingredients. Some of us are peasants and just want to make something useful and easy.
Usually, I'll just bring in a couple of ripe quinces in the autumn to put on the kitchen windowsill so that each time I'm in the kitchen I can pick one up, put it to my nose, and inhale the wondrous fragrance. This year I brought in a couple of 'Van Deman' quinces, but I wanted to do something constructive with them. In the kitchen, I had a butternut squash that I had partially used in a stew, but there was plenty more to use. I took the 2 quinces and diced them, then virtually minced them, and then I did the same with the neck of the squash. These I put them in a frying pan and simmered for quite some time in a sweet moschato wine. When they were well-simmered and softened, I "mushed them up" with a fork and added a little bit of maple syrup and some golden brown sugar. These I simmered further until the slop had an appropriate consistency, then spooned it into a Ball jar, sealed it, and put it in the fridge. [I am not a world-renowned chef or cook, but as someone whose first language is English, I believe that the word "slop" best conveys the appearance and texture of the product.]
Well, this evening I toasted a piece of whole-grain bread, smothered its toasted pores in butter, added some of the slop,... and...my tastebuds had their greatest day in ages! I am not one to exaggerate (except in jest), but gol-dang!!! I had to get back on the Forum, crow like a conquering rooster, and perturb other people who just want to be left alone!
In the '80s, when I was in college, my "breakfast" was often coffee, and toast with jelly. I used that same toaster (--'50s vintage, I think) this evening. Memories fade, of course, but I don't think that any of those breakfast toasts approximated the one that I ate this evening.
Am I a raving loony? I don't know. I know what I like. Experiment with your quinces. Let's not let our quinces go to waste. They're versatile!
Great idea Tim.
I will have to try something along those lines.
I may even try to convince my wife, who actually is a really good cook, to try your recipe.
That sounds tasty.
I use around 50 quince fruits (20+ pounds) per year just for quince sauce.
Same method as applesauce, takes a little longer to cook and requires an eggbeater or blender
to get a smooth consistency. Ingredients: quince and minimal water and sugar.
It would certainly spread well on toast/waffles/pancakes.
I often sprinkle cinnamon and/or star anise on the sauce.
The last of this year's batches will likely be taken from the freezer next September.
I make quince sauce with my Aromatnaya quince similar to that described by Larry_G, with some variations:
- Microwaving peeled quince chunks for 2 minutes removed all the astringency and soften them enough. When cooled, sliced quince go nicely on top of toasts with cream cheese or kefir cheese. I also used them in pizza (also with figs).
- I store quince as microwaved chunks in freezer since it is impossible to cook all of them at once.
- Microwaved quince cook down much faster.
- For sweetness, I use canned concentrated orange juice.
- I always have more apples than I can eat fresh, so apples and quinces are blended to make the sauce. It goes well with cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast or snacking.
- Add blackberry (seeds removed) to the sauce to make fruit leather.
Those sound great.
My quince tree finally formed fruit this year. Unfortunately they were gnarled, deformed, lumpy. I was wondering if quinces can get apple maggots. Maybe next year I should try bagging them.
My PDX quince does attract some species of fruit fly, but the larva is usually long gone before harvest. The only damage
they do is a small tunnel and a frassy core, both easily pared away during processing.
The microwaving sounds interesting, I am cooking in a 6-quart kettle so it would take quite a few microwave batches to fill the kettle.
The stovetop method also results in a completely non-astringent sauce.
I love the diversity of replies. I guess that I'm not the only one who loves quinces, and it's nice to get various ideas on how to process them.
I realized after my original spontaneous post that I may have left out a couple of details that undoubtedly led to my final product. When I'm craving something and my taste buds take over my brain, I tend to go into the kitchen and cook "gestaltically", for lack of a better term. This realm is a link between the conscious and subconscious based upon what I'm craving, and what I think I can put together in a way to satisfy what my taste buds are demanding.
Left out of my original description of the process is that I started with, perhaps, 2 tablespoons of butter (NOT margarine!). I put the heat on "low", and, as the butter melted, I was gradually adding the ingredients as I minced them. Then, when all minced ingredients were in, I turned up the heat a bit, added the Moschato, and then -- if memory serves-- added what I would estimate to be a teaspoon of lime juice. Thus, the simmering began. As with things like pea soup, you want to keep a constant eye on it. ...I think that maybe those were the two additional steps that I hadn't mentioned. ...Oh, yes -- and then there was the parrot.... [The parrot don't enter into it!]
John S: You married "my wife, who actually is a really good cook." Good for you buddy. My wife was first my friend, and then my best friend, and then the woman that I knew I wanted to marry. Well, when she and I were in the sorta "best friends going out together" phase, she baked up a pineapple upside cake that was wonderful!... Subsequently, after marriage, I found that she doesn't like to cook.... I can't say that she "suckered me" into marrying her, 'cause I was already in love with her, but.... Let's just say that if something is going to get cooked in our kitchen other than a frozen pizza, or Mac & Cheese out of a box, I'm the one doin' the cookin'.
In my beloved wife's defense, she did (once in the last 23 years), bake another pineapple upside down cake. It was just as good as the first. I would credit this miracle to occasional nagging on the part of her husband....
“I am cooking in a 6-quart kettle so it would take quite a few microwave batches to fill the kettle.”
That is right, and I was not suggesting that anyone should do the same.
But it takes me two minutes to prep two quinces, so I microwave the previous two while I prepare the next two. (My microwave is tiny, too.) When the pot is filled up, the content is already soft, well cooked, and warm. Cooking it down as sauce then only take a few more minutes.
If I have more quinces than the big pot can hold, let them cool down for eating later (toast, sandwich, pizza ...) or bagging them for freezer.
Yup, it’s a Ding-Ding chef here.
Prep time for 12-15 quinces is around 45 minutes, and cook time for the batch is about 20-25 minutes, so it takes over an hour per multi-quart batch
with the stovetop method. The trick for a smooth sauce is to remove all of the dense core area of the quince; the white-ish membrane will never cook down.
The top surface of the added kettle water should appear to be half of the quince depth, checked by tilting the kettle. This results in a porridge-like consistency
and minimizes any watered-down flavor.
I should try microwaving sometime to see is the eggbeater can be applied with no stovetop or added water, but my guess is it would be too thick.
I wonder whether anyone has ever tried to make a Quince Wine. The problem with quinces is that they are so high in pectin, which is useful for making jams or jellies in terms of thickening the result. To my mind, a quince wine would require A) a plethora of sweet apples or other high-sugar fruits for the fructose [or comparable natural sugar], and B) a source of tannins to help with the fermentation process and its clearing, and C) perhaps the use of the traditional English method of "keeving" in order to leave behind a lot of the residual material by siphoning off the cleared product from between the "chapeau brun" on the top and the settled detritus on the bottom.
I realize that I'm "speaking" to a small group of good folks on the HOS Forum, and perhaps none of you make hard ciders or other types of wine. If that's the case, I apologize in advance and won't expect any responses relevant to this post.
I am not yet in a position to do this myself, but my brain says to me that there is a great opportunity for an outstanding Quince Wine for the person willing to take on the challenge. As I envision it, the wine would probably be somewhat dry and acidic, like the "Maui Blanc" pineapple wine that was made quite some years ago by an upstart group on Maui who were establishing a grape winery, but very creatively, purchased and used pineapples from the island to make a nice dry pineapple wine while their grape plants were getting established. I personally loved the stuff and took it to get-togethers with my co-workers some quarter century ago.
We need to experiment folks. There's great potential there.
Aside from the 'Van Deman' quince, I also have a "wild type" quince. Its fruits are about golf-ball sized, turn yellowish-green at best and drop when they're mature, and are grayish pubescent. They're so hard to see on the plant that until about three years ago I didn't know that it produced fruits (--it's about 20 years old). ...When I look at those fruits, and I think about the selection and domestication that took place over at least 3000 years, I'm astounded. Not a one of us would consider nibbling on one of those little, hairy, golf balls. There's a legacy to follow up on.
[Just for the record, I'm talking about Cydonia oblonga as the fruiting quince, and am fully aware that it is different from the "Flowering Quince", which is in the genus Chaenomeles. Two totally different critters. The fact that they're both called quinces is no fault of mine. [I hate the misdirection of "common names".]
P.S. -- When the apples are all ripening at once, you can't eat them all. For those seriously interested in making hard cider, THE go-to modern reference book is Claude Jolicoeur's "The New Cider Maker's Handbook", Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013. It's virtually a textbook. You find find such relevant, current information between 2 book covers anywhere else.
(I apologize for any typographical errors. My backup proofreader fell asleep.)
I annually make a gallon or so of pure quince juice via masticating juicer, refrigerating the output for a couple of days to settle, and coffee filters.
The result is a crystal-clear amber liquid with plenty of natural tannins.
As a quince purist, I would not want apples in the wine recipe.
I've never had the quince juice jell up, but then I have never boiled it for long.
The next time I thaw out some juice, I should run a rubbing alcohol test to determine pectin content.
Does the wine-making process require a lot of (boiling) heat?
What is the smallest amount of juice required to make a practical batch of wine?
Larry's quince have a higher brix than most grocery store apples.
Thanks for the feedback. OK. For starters, I don't know how to respond to all the comments posted. I spend minimal time online. However, this first post needs to clarify what I typographically mis-stated, although I'm sure that most readers would have extrapolated my intention [I'm a crappy typist]:
Quote: "You find find such relevant, current information between 2 book covers anywhere else."
Of course, this should read as: "You can't find such relevant, current, detailed cider-making information between two book covers anywhere else." My apologies.
Larry_G: Jafar says that your quince are quite sweet (--despite their innate acidity--). Do you have a calculated brix number for the quinces that you can share? And can you tell us which varieties you grow and what their brix levels are? I'd like to get at least another 3 or 4 quince varieties in my yard, but I haven't had the opportunity to sample many. I remember that some years ago there were a couple of women with some diverse quinces on display at the HOS fruit fair, but unlike the other fruits, one wasn't allowed to sample them. It's hard (--impossible--) to decide that you want to grow a particular variety if you don't get a chance to taste a diversity of the fruits and assess them in relation to each other.
My quince is the old Burbank-developed variety 'Pineapple'.
Perhaps Jafar recalls his brix measurement or has it noted somewhere.
I am wondering how his batch of quince juice turned out; the online account elsewhere got to the fridge/settling stage.
My single tree has been in production for 25 years. 250 pounds this year after several rounds of thinning.
You had asked: "Does the wine-making process require a lot of (boiling) heat?"
Call me a primitive (which I probably am), but, as a traditionalist, I don't think there should ever be a reason for boiling or heating of a fruit must in the process of fermenting it. I'm always more interested in the traditional methods of fermentation. I certainly don't have any intention of demeaning the processes of others, which are fine with me, but we sold our microwave oven perhaps a dozen years ago because it was clearly an incentive to buy and eat frozen dinners and such other eating of over-processed insta-pseudo-foods. The microwave was a wedding gift from the dear woman who performed our wedding ceremony, but as I've gotten older I've been striving evermore toward consuming fresh, homegrown foods. When it comes to fermented fruit wines, I want to do them as traditionally and naturally as possible -- what might be called a "farmhouse cider".
Clearly there are challenges in regard to making a quince wine. I think that -- most importantly -- is the problem of the high natural pectin content in quinces. In the modern industry of home brewing and home winemaking, there are all kinds of things that one can purchase for breaking down the pectins, or clearing the wines, or sterilizing the must before adding a carefully selected strain of cultured yeast. That's all well and good, but I'm always looking for ways that could have been used prior to the modern industrial age. Wines have been made for several thousand years. The earliest of these were probably grape wines or mead, then hard cider from apples. There are obviously challenges with making a quince wine, and I would think that the main one would be the high pectin content. How that can be "naturally" dealt with is the crux of the problem. I'm not a chemist, so I'm at a loss on this one. That's why I was thinking that a "keeving" process might be useful. I suspect that the English learned the process from the French cider makers who called it defecation. I've done my best to avoid this term, but it would appear very slightly less rude if I were able to type the appropriate accent marks.
Nowadays, "home brewers" have all kinds of things that they can order online. There's obviously some pleasure in brewing your own bear, or making your own wine, but if one has to purchase all kinds of ingredients to make it, the result probably costs more than just going out and buying it at the grocery store. Hence, once again, the naked ape on this end of the line thinks that we should strive toward making things "naturally", with few or no purchased inputs.
I hope that this utterance is not too obscure and unhelpful.
P.S.-- I'm still blown away by the fact that you get 250 lbs. of quince from a solitary quince tree!
That would be: ...brewing your own BEER,... not "bear". I think the latter would be a little too hairy and musky.
...Once upon a time I could spell. Ageing is not fun. [That was the British spelling of "ageing", which the computer is telling me is misspelled. In American english it would be aging, which I can only read as "Uh GING." There are times when I prefer the spelling of the colonialist mother of our nation.]
Just thought I'd add yet another addendum to bother you good folks. Have you ever noticed that some people just can't shut up? Bugs the heck outta me, I must say.
Apparently in winemaking, pectin haze is undesirable.
But my juice is already crystal-clear. Perhaps during the fermentation process the pectin becomes cloudy without heat.
Winemakers just use pectinase as a solution.
...and my tree is on semi-dwarf rootstock, it is not a large tree. Record harvest was ~400 pounds, but not all of
that crop was usuable, it was weighed just out of curiosity. Crops were limited in recent years via pruning and thinning.
I have seen bigger quince trees around and would think 500 pounds would be easily doable, up to a limit of branch-breaking.
Even with thinning, September heavy rain and wind plus fruit load broke two minor branches, the fruit on those was not affected.
Yes. In fermenting a fruit wine, a haze is always frowned upon. Perhaps this is just "tradition"? Might it be the same kind of tradition that requires a cider to have NO dregs in the bottom of the bottle? In general, there's nothing wrong with those dregs. [--Who came up with these "standards" anyway?--].
Perhaps 10 years ago, I had an excellent "real" hard apple cider made in Ireland which had a small amount of the "dregs" in the bottom of the bottle. I had no qualms about it: I was drinking the real, traditional thing and it was a darn good "real" cider. Pectinase is just one more of those readily available additives that takes us further away from a thoroughly natural process. I haven't a problem with those who prefer to use such methods, but -- at least in "my world" -- I want to pursue a process as close to the natural as possible.
The fact that you get a "crystal-clear" quince juice is an excellent potential start to a quince wine (if you were so inclined). I'd say that -- for a good fermentation and final wine -- you'd need the addition of sugars to an appropriate level for the kind of quince wine that you want to make for whatever level of "sweetness"; and (as with hard apple cider), a natural source of tannin to aid in the fermentation and add "body" to the final product. ...For a source of tannins in a fermentation, some people recommend making a very strong tea of something [non-toxic, of course] high in tannins to add to the must prior to fermentation. I have my own "secret idea" for what I'd use, if necessary, but I presume that different types of "tea" would give different results in the final product.
With absolutely no exaggeration whatsoever, the best wine that I ever tasted was one that I made back in the autumn of '82 or '83. [This is not boasting; this is profound wonderment at my luck]. After work one evening, I was driving a friend/co-worker home, and as I came down the driveway and parked, there was a Pineapple-Guava tree in the headlights. This must have been October. It was the perfect time of year at which it had dropped its perfectly ripened fruits. I asked my friend whether it was OK if I collected some of the fruits and I got approval. I filled a paper grocery bag with the fruits and took them home. Within about a week of that, I had gone hiking up in a favorite mountain canyon in southern California and one of the oaks had had a banner year. I'd collected countless acorns, then ground them up, boiled them, and separated the tannins from the "grain" (--which I subsequently used in cookies and pancakes etc.). In retrospect, I have to assume that the ripe pineapple-guava fruits had the perfect balance of "sweet to acid", such that the tannins that I added resulted in the most exquisite wine. It was SO good that I only drank about 2 tablespoons-worth each year because I wanted it to last forever! Sadly (and predictably), it was ready to turn to vinegar in about the year 2000. Golly! What I would give to have a supply of that wine!
This is all "scribbling on the back of a napkin", but I think that the prospect of a good quality Quince Wine has great merit, whether it be just for personal use or for sharing with others. Experimentation (with record-keeping, of course -- which I hadn't done in the case of my once-in-a-lifetime-wine--), is required for gradually approaching a truly fine product.
How very much I wish that I had consumed at least 4 times more of that incredible wine!