Eight years ago my parents gave my husband a quince tree for Christmas. Every autumn we have a glut of quince. Quince tajine, apple and quince crumble, quince jelly and quince vodka; we make the lot. I am always on the lookout for new ways to utilise quince, so when I spotted this slim volume in a bookshop, it had to be purchased.
Quinces are an ancient fruit, indeed they are thought to be the apples that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. More recently Edward Lear had the Owl and the Pussycat dining on slices of quince for their wedding breakfast. The book starts with these fascinating facts and lots more beside with history of the tree. Once you have been lured with tales of the fruit of Aphrodite, a guide to growing the trees follows. If you have a garden that is large enough to play host to a forsythia, then you have enough space to grow a quince with the added advantage of less pruning and more fruit.
Camel Driver’s Feast is the first recipe that I shall make with this year’s harvest; the combination of minced lamb, za’atar and quince sounds fabulous but not as entrancing as the name. Next on the menu is Coronation Quince a sweet confection that appeared on the menu for Richard III’s coronation. Quince are very versatile lending themselves to both sweet and savoury dishes. Next year I shall look forward to nibbling a cube of Quince Turkish Delight whilst enjoying a glass of Quince vodka.
Quince trees pay for their space in the garden, in spring they have lovely blossom, the foliage is attractive in summer and in autumn you are rewarded with beautiful golden fruits. Even if you can resist the urge to grow them yourself, this is an excellent book full of fascinating facts and tempting recipes.
QUINCES: GROWING & COOKING by Jane McMorland Hunter & Sue Dunster
Published by Prospect Books