Yesterday the quince brought memories of happenings in Ouma Mien’s kitchen: as a dessert with custard, as marmalade on toast, and as membrillo or kweperkaas eaten with cheese. Today I write about its zero waste properties. And tomorrow, tomorrow I hope my children will remember what a quince tree looks like, and maybe, just maybe, remember the faint fragrance of a bowl of quinces.
It was from marmelo, the Portugese name for quince, that the word marmalade came into our language. The slightly inedible fruit transforms when cored, peeled and cooked: into preserved quince (the fruit), quince marmalade (fruit and syrup), quince jelly (from strained fruit), and quince paste (from the cooked fruit). And these are only the novelty transformations I’ve sampled and tested in our kitchen.
You must have some Quinces, and rasp them with a Grater; all being grated, you must have a Piece of strong Cloth, put in a small handful, and squeese it with all your Might, that the Juice may come from it; when all is squeesed and you have all the Juice, put it in a Preserving pan, let it take just one single Boiling, and let it cool; being cooled, measure two Quarts of Juice and two Quarts of Brandy, Measure by Measure, and clarify some Sugar; to each two Quarts, ten Ounces of Sugar, a Piece of Cinnamon, four Cloves, and three or four Grains of white Pepper whole; stop up your Jug very close, put it aside for two or three Months, put it through a Straining-bag, until it come very clear, and put it up in Bottles flopped very close.
From Vincent la Chapelle, The Modern Cook (London: 1733)
A follow-up test in the kitchen? I really can’t let any thing go to waste…