I first encountered the edible quince Cydonia oblonga at a friend’s farm, where the tree stood like a garden prop, perfectly shaped, petite and laden with fuzzy gold orbs the size of small papayas. With fruits doing double time as well-placed ornaments, the tree was showy and productive. In other words, it had me at “hello.”
Years later, my quince is in bloom and I’m no less smitten. The blossoms sit high on each twig cluster like individual nosegays. After the buds unfurl in shades of pink and white, the airy (and large) blossoms point skyward. Yep, it’s mighty pretty and the good news continues; the tree is pest free, self-fertile and fruitful. And while the fruit is rock hard when harvested, it becomes fragrant, tender and delicious when cooked, but I’ll continue that part of the story this September.
Here’s what Trees for Antiquity Nursery has to say about the quince (in case you need another opinion).
A relative of the apple, the quince is one of the earliest known fruits. For over 4,000 years, quince trees have grown in Asia and the Mediterranean. Today, they are also found in Latin America, the Middle East and here in the United States where there is a resurgence of interest in this ancient fruit. Quinces typically aren’t eaten fresh (with the exception of the Aromatnaya Quince), but make wonderful marmalades, are a lively addition to apple sauces and pies, and compliment meat dishes. Because they contain a large amount of natural pectin, they are also ideal for jellies, chutneys and preserves. Quinces are all low chill (300 hours), self-fruitful and tolerate wet soils better than most fruit trees.
Update: Here’s what the fruit looked like when harvested in October at Tall Clover Farm.
- Delicious History
- Botanical Print
- David Lebovitz: Recipe Tart Tartin
- Simply Recipes: Membrillo Recipe.
What I was blogging about a year ago: Renee, I Have Your Rhubarb.