[Sca-cooks] what do you do with Quinces?

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Jan 5 10:35:32 PST 2007

This is the first time i've heard of eating 
quinces raw as a good thing. I tasted mine before 
i cooked 'em, but they weren't a fruit i'd buy 
regularly to eat raw.

From what i've read and heard, generally quinces are cooked.

Within "SCA-period" they're used many ways. 
Probably the most common is some form of quince 
paste, the fruit cooked with honey or sugar, and 
mashed, and cooked some more, until it is much 
denser than jam. Today membrillo (as it is called 
in Spain) is often eaten with Manchego cheese. 
Also, it was and still is made by the French 
(quince is "coing" in modern French). And IIRC 
there are some 16th C. English recipes for it, 
too, although i don't recall what the English 
called it back then.

But one can do other things with quinces.

When i bought a whole case of them way back, i 
used about half to make quince syrup 
(laimon-safarjali) from the 14th C. Arabic 
language cookbook "The Book of the Description of 
Familiar Foods" in early November 2001 for a 
feast (i was Iron Chef Persian).

Then i used the other half to make chicken with 
quinces in early December 2001 for a feast i head 
cooked (the Beacons Gate Boar Hunt, this one with 
a mostly German menu). Since i don't have a 
commercial sized refrigerator, i kept the case in 
a very cool, somewhat dark place for the month 
between feasts. In that time, only two went over 
to the dark side.


Laimun Safarjali
Lemon-Quince-Rosewater Syrup Beverage

When I was shopping for ingredients for the 
feast, I went to a Persian food store. I searched 
the shelves in hopes of finding a (synthetic) 
musk flavored extract or syrup called for in a 
couple recipes. Much to my surprise, I found a 
bottle of Lemon-Quince syrup from an American 
Persian food supplier. I bought it to taste test. 
It was delicious. My homemade syrup was even more 

One part quince juice and three parts filtered 
syrup, in both of which you have boiled pieces of 
quince until nearly done. They are taken up, and 
the syrup takes it consistency. To every pound of 
the whole you add two ounces of lemon juice. Then 
return the pieces of quince; they improve the 
consistency. It is scented with musk, saffron and 
rose-water and taken up and used.
- - - - - from The Book of the Description of Familiar Foods (Egypt, 1373 CE)
- - - - - pp. 442-443, "Medieval Arab Cookery")

My Recipe:

2 dozen quinces
5 to 8 pounds granulated white sugar
juice of 12 lemons
several capfuls of rosewater, Cortas brand

1. Cut quinces in quarters. Core and remove 
flower and stem ends. Cut further into eighths 
(that is, each quince is ultimately cut in eight 
2. Put quinces in deep kettle, cover with water and turn fire to high.
3. Pour in 5 lb. sugar. Stir well.
4. When liquid begins to boil, reduce fire to 
medium and continue to simmer, stirring 
frequently so bottom of pan doesn't burn.
5. Do NOT mash quinces. I did and it was a BIG 
mistake. I did not get enough syrup, although the 
mashed quinces were delicious.
6. When liquid has thickened and has become a 
lovely amber-rose color - many hours later - 
remove from heat and allow to cool.
7. When cool enough to manage, put a strainer 
over a deep bowl, and begin scooping out quinces 
and liquid. Allow to strain without mashing or 
pressing fruit. Remove resulting liquid to 
another large container.
8. After you've drained the quinces well, and 
syrup has cooled, check the consistency and 
flavor. It should be somewhat syrupy and have a 
tart-sweet flavor. It doesn't need to be clear. 
In fact, the original recommends having some 
fruity bits in it, so you can add some mashed 
quince at this point. If syrup isn't sweet 
enough, put in kettle on high fire, add more 
sugar, stir well, bring to boil, then reduce to 
high simmer, and cook down a little more.
9. When syrup is thoroughly cooled, add lemon juice and rose water.
10. To drink, fill a pitcher about 2/3 full of 
water and add a bit of syrup. Taste. Add more 
syrup until you are satisfied (the commercial 
syrup, much denser than mine, is diluted 1 to 5). 
It should have a sweet-tart flavor, redolent of 
quinces and roses.


Chicken & Quince Stew

30. A good food. Take hens. Roast them, not very 
well. Tear them apart, into morsels, and let them 
boil in only fat and water. And take a crust of 
bread and ginger and a little pepper and anise. 
Grind that with vinegar and with the same 
strength as it. And take four roasted quinces and 
the condiment thereto of the hens. Let it boil 
well therewith, so that it even becomes thick. If 
you do not have quinces, then take roasted pears 
and make it with them. And give out and do not 
- - - - - from Ein Buch von Guter Spise, German, 14th c.

To Serve 75-80
as part of a four course feast with with 22 dishes

25 lbs chickens parts
water to cover
20 quinces
10 cups bread crumbs
2 TB. powdered ginger
1 TB. powdered anise
1-1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
2-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
chicken broth as needed

1.  Boil chicken in water just barely to cover, 
until almost done. If still a little pink, that's 
ok, as it will cook further.
2.  Roast quinces at 300 degrees Farenheit until 
tender, about 1 hour, and let cool.
3.  Remove chicken from broth and let cool, saving broth.
4.  Remove the crust from a loaf of white bread and tear up the white crumb.
5.  Soak bread crumbs in vinegar.
6.  When soft and moist through, mix with ginger, pepper, and anise.
7.  Puree seasoned bread.
8.  Dice quinces, discarding core and seeds.
9.  When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove 
meat from bones and tear into bite-sized chunks.
10. Mix chicken and quinces with spiced bread 
crumb mixture, adding just enough broth to 
11. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until 
mixture is fairly thick. Stir constantly to make 
sure it doesn't burn on the bottom. Don't cook 
too long or chicken will become mush.

NOTE: This tasted better than i thought it would. 
I was concerned that the tartness of the quinces 
along with the tanginess of the vinegar might be 
unpleasant. I was also concerned that the 
seasoning would not balance well. But it was 
fine. Only one plate came back to the kitchen and 
that was from a table of vegetarians.


There are plenty of modern recipes for quinces. 
When i was planning to cook a family Thanksgiving 
dinner, i found a number. Here are three.


Quince Compote
posted as Eastern European Jewish

approx. 2 lb fresh quinces
4 c water
3Ž4 c sugar
juice from one lemon
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise

Cube the quince (don't peel).
Put all the ingredients in a large pan.
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 3 hours, 
until the quince turns slightly red.
Cool and refrigerate.
Serve cold.


Gingered cranberry/quince sauce
Serves 4-6

12 oz (340 g)  fresh cranberries, washed
1 large quince, seeded and coarsely chopped
a piece of fresh ginger, about the size of an 
average woman's two thumbs, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
grated zest of 1/2 lime or small lemon
Sugar to taste

Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Add enough 
water that the cranberries just begin to float. 
Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until 
the cranberries begin to pop. Keep stirring the 
mixture, occasionally pressing any remaining 
whole cranberries against the edge of the pan, so 
that they're all crushed. Check the quince; the 
sauce isn't done until the quince has reached the 
consistency of a crunchy apple.

The pectin in the cranberries will thicken the 
sauce. Once the quince is cooked, it's done.
Serve hot or cold.


Cranberry, Quince and Pear Chutney
4 1/2 cups

With its depth and complexity, this chutney makes 
a good alternative to the usual cranberry sauce.

1 2/3 cups verjus or white wine
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
3 large Bartlett pears, peeled and finely diced
2 medium quinces (7 ounces each), peeled and finely diced
2 teaspoons grappa or brandy

1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the 
verjus with the sugar and bring to a boil. Cook 
over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until 
reduced by one-third, about 10 minutes. Add the 
cranberries and cook until softened, gently 
smashing the cranberries against the side of the 
pan, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, combine 
the pears with the quinces and remaining 2/3 cup 
of verjus and bring to a boil. Cover and cook 
over moderately low heat until the pears are 
softened, about 20 minutes.
3. In a heatproof bowl, combine the cranberry 
sauce with the pears, quinces and grappa. 
Refrigerate until chilled.

The F&W Test Kitchen especially likes the verjus from Wölffer Estate


The above modern recipes are not mine. I found 
them on the web, along with quite a few more.

If you do a search with the search parameters set to:
quince recipe
you'll doubtless turn up others.

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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