Talk:The Japanese Quince
A lovely story. My husband lived in Japan in his childhood and youth, and has many clear and vivid memories that have yet to surface after so many years of US domicile. Lately, he saw on YouTube a quince bush, and recalled its habitus in his neighborhood. Thorny quince surrounded his fiance's parents'home. In the spring, it bore beautiful pink and white blossoms, he said, and the developing fruit had a fantastic smell. It bore the characteristic shaped fruit, but they had no idea of how to prepare it to eat, so they left it for the birds. My sister had sent some homemade quince jam explaining that it was a favorite from England many years ago, so I was intrigued to learn if it was the same quince. I always get a kick about hearing how plants travel to Europe and become an anglicized as an 'English Tradition' like drinking tea at 4:00 PM, a long-held Japanese tradition long, long before adopted by the Brits. When I went to the Farmer's Market this week, one booth had a bushel basket full of green quince. Looking over, it seemed a pear-shaped chartreuse. The booth-seller explained that her supply were native to the state up north and were not sweet enough to enjoy as a raw fruit. She said that it was cooked in stews with mushrooms, onions, and potatoes, and if enough sugar was added, it set up as a fine jelly. I have to take her word for that. I don't often make jam because I very rarely add sugar to what I cook, even cakes and cookies are more like biscuits. But, the woman at the booth explained that it contained a lot of pectin, which is the thickening of it. Some people think that one must add pectin to gel fruits, but fail to realize that apples and oranges and other fruits contain so much pectin that they hardly need 'thickening' at all when cooking down for jelly or marmalade. The final words of advice that that I was given was to allow the fruits to ripen, and I would know by the wonderfully lemony-appley aroma, and then they'd be ready to cook. So, I've got the quince in a paper sack and am waiting, waiting, waiting. It sounds like something I'd like to plant at the edge of the ravine on our property to keep the itinerants from taking over. Maybe next to the magnificent magnolia and bright spot of early spring-time forsythia. We'll have to see about the quince jelly, though.