Quince fruit--is it ripe?

raee_gwAugust 25, 2010

I have an ornamental quince that this year is absolutely loaded with fruit. I have read that it is acceptable to use for jelly, even though it is not the quince that is usually cultivated for edibility.

It has started to drop fruit; these are large and only partially yellow, quite hard. Are they ripe enough to try to use? How do I tell?

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Chaenomeles fruit will not get soft even when fully ripe. If they are falling off the bush you have no choice but to use them as soon as possible. Anyway, even if they are not fully ripe, for making jelly some unripe fruit is a good idea. Although the fruit is yellow you will get a pretty pink jelly. If you need a recipe post a request on the Harvest forum here on GW. (I won't give you my method as it would be considered unsafe in the US where our slovenly European habits are frowned upon!)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 4:58AM
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It's OK, Flora, most of my "slovenly" American canning methods are frowned upon by most of the posters on Harvest as well. However, since I've been doing things the way my mother taught me, which was the way her mother taught her to do it BACK IN THE 1930's, I guess it must work. Haven't ever poisoned myself using 80 year old recipes and methods. I guess if I die of botulism from something I canned, at least I'll die happy. We all have to go sometime.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 6:03AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

What slovenly canning habits?? If its slovenly I'm probably doing it. I do try to sterilize the jars before canning, usually since the stove is all taken I put them in the microwave filled near the top and run it for 10 minutes.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 9:27AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Well, slovenly as in not actually canning jams, jellies or chutneys at all. Just potting up in hot jars, putting a lid on and sticking on a shelf. No boiling water bath or pressure cooking which the Harvest Forum people deem necessary. (Disclaimer .... this is only for traditional high sugar or vinegar items, not for other types of canned products.)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 1:14PM
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Flora, for many, many years that is basically how we did jams and jellies and preserves. Only difference was we always poured a thin layer of parafin wax over the top to make a seal. I quit doing that a while back, too messy, and just use regular Ball lids and bands, but I still don't bwb them, just pour hot into the jars, put on lids and bands, turn them upside down once to surface sterilize with hot liquid, and then put them into a slightly hot oven for a while to seal.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 3:14PM
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Thanks flora uk, I will use them this weekend.

I haven't ever made jelly, although I've made jams and pumpkin butter -- it has been a number of years since I did any preserving. I saw a recipe for membrillo which sounded very interesting & I thought I would try since I have this surprise quince harvest.

I was also taught the paraffin method by my mother but I have a large pan that makes the hot water bath easy and that is what I've done before. I do need to check that I have lids, I know that I have half a box of jars. I would try the microwave method if I had a microwave!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 10:29PM
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One year our local grocery store had quince, the first time I had ever seen any live. I made apple and quince pie, apple and quince jelly, and membrillo. I would make the membrillo again, if I ever found quince again. I guess I should plant either a quince or a couple of flowering quince so I wouldn't have to rely on the grocery.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 1:49PM
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Catherine -- yes, quinces are really easy to grow and very productive. I get usually about 3 to 4 bushels every year off of my tree. They are, however, real worm magnets, so you have to be pretty consistent with spraying them all summer. I had great luck last year and this year with Triazicide Once and Done, but I don't know if that product is available in Canada.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 4:24PM
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Glad to hear the membrillo turned out to be worthwhile. I've never had it, hadn't even heard of it before seeing the recipe but it sounds like something I'd quite like.

My quince bush is spectacular in bloom, but it is getting so large-- I was planning to cut it way back--I've not had any trouble with worms though. I've got a bad case of cedar-quince rust on the hawthorns oddly enough not on the quince at all!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 11:07PM
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I believe membrillo is made with fruiting quince from a tree rather than flowering (ornamental) quince fruits.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 1:26AM
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Hi larry gene,

I picked up the idea from a blog devoted to making preserves and jellies. The author, and many many commentors, talked about successfully using ornamental quince, because they were finding it hard to find quince in their stores, so I thought I would try it--why not?

I made it tonight. I was just using the windfalls, so I only had 5 or 6 smaller ones. After quartering, coring and peeling (more work than an apple, surprising how big the core & how many seeds in those little fruits. Next time I won't core or peel them, I will put them through a sieve after cooking to remove the pips etc ) I just put the fruit in a small glass pan with about 60% weight of sugar to the weight of the quince -- I was afraid of making it too sweet--about a half inch of water, and put it in the toaster oven.

After 2 hours the fruit was soft, and tasted good, but was still yellow and syrupy. I left it another 2 hours and came back to find it ruby red and just right.

Just had some on ice cream, couldn't wait till it was firm, and wow! love it. Gives a real pow in the mouth, sweet and tart. Can't wait to try it the portuguese way, with cheese.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 12:18AM
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Ornamental quince fruit is best use for quince liqueur. Very popular in Europe. Wish I could get some of your fruit to make this delicacy.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 11:06AM
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