Quince?

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Morticia's picture
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I have a quince bush. I hack at it regularly during the summer as it overgrows its boundaries and tries to take over the patio. Well, all that hacking must have done some good because now that the leaves are falling off, I see there are quite a number of quince(s) growing. How do I know they're ripe? What do I do with them? No jelly please, there aren't enough.

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JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Quince is frost hardy and requires a cold period below 7 °C to flower properly. The tree is self fertile, however yield can benefit from cross fertilization. The fruit can be left on the tree to ripen further which softens the fruit to the point where it can be eaten raw in warmer climates, but should be picked before the first frosts.

Most varieties of quince are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw unless 'bletted' (softened by frost and subsequent decay). They are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed. The flesh of the fruit turns red after a long cooking time. The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavour. Adding a diced quince to applesauce will enhance the taste of the applesauce with the chunks of relatively firm, tart quince. The term "marmalade", originally meaning a quince jam, derives from the Portuguese word for this fruit marmelo.[1][2] The fruit, like so many others, can be used to make a type of wine.

    and of course it has many many uses other than simply eating it:

In Malta, a jam is made from the fruit (ġamm ta' l-isfarġel). According to local tradition, a teaspoon of the jam dissolved in a cup of boiling water relieves intestinal discomfort.

    Without pasting it all in here - this fruit seemed to really travel.  It is a hardy fruit, so that may be the main reason.

During the 18th century, when Australia and New Zealand were becoming colonized, Australia began to raise sheep but became dependent on many imported foods brought by ships traveling from Britain. New Zealand, however, fell back on the Maori culture for fresh fruits and vegetables including quince, though how the quince reached New Zealand is not commonly known. It may have arrived by ship from England, but a more likely prospect is that the quince traveled eastward through India, China, and Japan and finally south to New Zealand.

Quince enjoyed the spotlight only briefly during the colonial period in New England. A March 16, 1629 entry in the Massachusetts Bay Colony's Memorandum listed quince as one of the seeds requested from England. By 1720 quince was thriving in Virginia. Many home gardens throughout the colonies were reaping a fall harvest from their quince trees; however, apples quickly snatched the spotlight from the quinces.

The quince tree is small, only about 12 to 20 feet in height, compared to many other fruit trees that easily reach 30 feet and higher. Interestingly, pears are frequently grown on quince rootstock to prevent the trees from growing too high for convenient harvesting. The quince possesses an independent nature, though, and will not hybridize with the pear. Another demonstration of the quince's self-reliance is its ability to self-fertilize.  

          Here it calls it a TREE.

Quince trees are deciduous, very hardy, and thrive well for approximately 30 years. They characteristically grow into bushy twisted and contorted shapes and require very little care. In spring the trees flower with single, large pink or white flowers that are reminiscent of apple blossoms. The unopened flower bud of some varieties has red stripes that evoke memories of an old barber pole.

Not many fruit trees grow easily from seed, but quince will, though it is usually best to purchase a small tree that has been grown from established rootstock.

With their shallow roots, quince trees thrive in moist soil, prefer temperate climates, and require protection from harsh cold or wind. In its favor, the quince rarely suffers from insect problems.

The tree's natural tendency is to grow in a scraggly fashion. Minimal pruning is needed for quince but may be helpful in eliminating unwanted suckers or heading-back interfacing branches.

Appealing as an ornamental, the quince offers attractive foliage, spring flowers, autumn colors, and an artistic appearance with its winter-bare entwining branches. While the spring blossoms provide food for beneficial insects, the autumn fruits left on the tree offer nourishment for birds and squirrels. The tree can be successfully planted in a lawn setting with a single tree producing ample fruit for cooking and feeding the wildlife. 

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YellowSocks's picture
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Hmmm... now I know what that bush is on the rental lot in the alley... they sure looked like apples, but apple trees aren't bushes! 

Wonder if they're still there...

=)
Kk.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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YellowSocks wrote:

Hmmm... now I know what that bush is on the rental lot in the alley... they sure looked like apples, but apple trees aren't bushes! 

Wonder if they're still there...

=)
Kk.

Quinces  I have seen growing are TREES, like 15 feet tall.  Not small like bushes

Morticia's picture
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This probably would be 15' tall if I didn't hack it back 2-3 x/year. Seriously, it covers the windows & patio if I don't. Why it got planted where it did, other than the spring flowers, I don't know.

YellowSocks's picture
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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

YellowSocks wrote:

Hmmm... now I know what that bush is on the rental lot in the alley... they sure looked like apples, but apple trees aren't bushes! 

Wonder if they're still there...

=)
Kk.

Quinces  I have seen growing are TREES, like 15 feet tall.  Not small like bushes

Wiki said bush.  And what Bree described sure sounds bushy.

And I've been walking past this overgrown bushy tree and wondering how there could be apples on a bush...

So I'm grateful for this topic!

=)
Kk.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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YellowSocks wrote:

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

YellowSocks wrote:

Hmmm... now I know what that bush is on the rental lot in the alley... they sure looked like apples, but apple trees aren't bushes! 

Wonder if they're still there...

=)
Kk.

Quinces  I have seen growing are TREES, like 15 feet tall.  Not small like bushes

Wiki said bush.  And what Bree described sure sounds bushy.

And I've been walking past this overgrown bushy tree and wondering how there could be apples on a bush...

So I'm grateful for this topic!

=)
Kk.

They just grow bigger in the fertile san Joaquin. ha ha  These are great big bushes then, you would see them around farm houses.  Interesting to find out why. I will ask Dad when I talk to him, that will give him something to think about for 3000 miles of driving this week.  Is it for the jam?  Does it attract birds away from the orchards where the other fruit is growing? 

Maybe Grey Swan Inn's hubby can answer he grew up in N CA.  With all the fruit that grows there Quince are so hard, not sure why they would be so popular as a jam.  Interesting topic tho!

gillumhouse's picture
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Nope - mine was a BUSH!! The flowers are a coral color of pink.

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I was wondering about those too as we just saw them in the market the other day.  DH said what are those & what do you do with them?  Those little darn labels do help sometimes... 'Quince used for jelly and baking'  Usually I am up to try new things but now that i know how tart they are, no need for me to go any further to find a recipe. 

Morticia's picture
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I'm probably going to leave them for the wildlife.

seashanty's picture
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maybe the quince house bed and breakfast - i think that's the right name - members on here - have recipes?  i thought at first your question was to or about them.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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I was going to say they have fuzz that irritates your mouth, then went to wiki and read:

The Quince (pronounced /kwɪns/), or Cydonia oblonga, is the sole member of the genus Cydonia and native to warm-temperate southwest Asia in the Caucasus region. It is a small deciduous tree, growing 5-8 m tall and 4-6 m wide, related to apples and pears, and like them has a pome fruit, which is bright golden yellow when mature, pear-shaped, 7-12 cm long and 6-9 cm broad.

The immature fruit is green, with dense grey-white pubescence which mostly (but not all) rubs off before maturity in late autumn when the fruit changes colour to yellow with hard flesh that is strongly perfumed. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, 6-11 cm long, with an entire margin and densely pubescent with fine white hairs. The flowers, produced in spring after the leaves, are white or pink, 5 cm across, with five petals

 

Great pubes.  Nice to know.  BLECH BLECH!

gillumhouse's picture
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We had quince bushes at Granny's as I was growing up but never ever saw one until the year we bought this place.

A quince is of the apple family and is hard as a rock and so sour that if you try to eat one, your mouth will not unpucker until Christmas. They can only be made into jelly WITH something else.

When we removed the one in our yard - never bore fruit again BTW - my kids were all here and they dug, hacked, pulled, used the ax, hooked a chain around the roots and hooked the other end to the axel of my son's company van (which we thought was going to lose the axel to the quince) before we actually got it dug out. This is NOT an exaggeration - we spent the major portion of a SUMMER day (so you know it was not a short daylight day) getting it out. I am still fighting offshoots of it as we just got the main root ball that day. The flowers on it every Spring are lovely but other than that it is useless.

Morticia's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

We had quince bushes at Granny's as I was growing up but never ever saw one until the year we bought this place.

A quince is of the apple family and is hard as a rock and so sour that if you try to eat one, your mouth will not unpucker until Christmas. They can only be made into jelly WITH something else.

When we removed the one in our yard - never bore fruit again BTW - my kids were all here and they dug, hacked, pulled, used the ax, hooked a chain around the roots and hooked the other end to the axel of my son's company van (which we thought was going to lose the axel to the quince) before we actually got it dug out. This is NOT an exaggeration - we spent the major portion of a SUMMER day (so you know it was not a short daylight day) getting it out. I am still fighting offshoots of it as we just got the main root ball that day. The flowers on it every Spring are lovely but other than that it is useless.

It IS quite beautiful in the spring. But it is waaaaaaaay too big for where it was planted. I have probably cut it back 8-9 times since we've been here. Even the gal who does my lawn went after it this year and she cut it waaaaaaay back. I'd love to move it out somewhere where it can grow, but listening to your story, I'm not sure we'll be able to...

gillumhouse's picture
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It kept encroaching on my clothesline, the thorns hurt too, and was 2 inches from the house behind us. Too close to use an M-80!

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

We had quince bushes at Granny's as I was growing up but never ever saw one until the year we bought this place.

A quince is of the apple family and is hard as a rock and so sour that if you try to eat one, your mouth will not unpucker until Christmas. They can only be made into jelly WITH something else.

When we removed the one in our yard - never bore fruit again BTW - my kids were all here and they dug, hacked, pulled, used the ax, hooked a chain around the roots and hooked the other end to the axel of my son's company van (which we thought was going to lose the axel to the quince) before we actually got it dug out. This is NOT an exaggeration - we spent the major portion of a SUMMER day (so you know it was not a short daylight day) getting it out. I am still fighting offshoots of it as we just got the main root ball that day. The flowers on it every Spring are lovely but other than that it is useless.

I could not cut one with a knife.  They ARE hard as a rock.  I love sour things tho, so I like them.  I like those super tart apples that turn brown after the first bite. 

There used to be quince trees all over the San Joaquin valley in CA.  Now there are empty vacated housing developments and strip malls.  They tore up that whole valley as a bedroom community to San Jose and surrounds.  There are prob not many quince trees left as they left with the big rancheros.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Had plenty.  They are not easy to cook with OR EAT for that matter!  I like them tho. I can see no use for them in a B&B setting.

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Never had one nor tasted one..but look here

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