On my friend Ann’s micro farm I was visiting to pick out a Cashmere goat, I spotted a Quince tree on the border of her property and they were ripe. I asked her if I could take some fruit and she was happy to oblige, she also told me that the farm stand down the street was selling them for $2.50 a piece, so I felt fantastic about being able to acquire this rare fruit. Quince ~ also known as “the golden apple” ~ is a beautiful, antiquated fruit that originated in Armenia and Iran and came to be cultivated throughout the Ottoman empire. Some historians believe it was also the original “apple” rhapsodized in the bible, possibly even the Garden Of Eden. To Ottoman poets, the quince was a symbol of the beloved. You should eat them cooked because raw they are tart and a bit dry, today I will be making a Vanilla Rose Quince Butter which pairs perfectly with all kinds of cheese and makes a wonderful pie filling. (Words cannot describe the way my house smells right now…Apples? Pineapples? Flowers? All of the above…)
Columella, another ancient naturalist, describes two other varieties he names as the sparrow apple and the must apple. In Marion Harland’s Household Guide To Common Housewifery published in 1871 Quince is described as having a “heady, sweet fragrance of fully ripened pineapples, mangos and persimmons with a subtle smattering of rose petals and freshly ground cinnamon, clove and cardamom.” WOW! She also says they are very high in pectin and great for any preserves. You know when the fruit is ripe, not by their color changing or different shades, but by a wonderful fragrance and by fuzzy little fleece surrounding the fruit.
I suggest giving this Vanilla Rose Quince Butter as a gift to your beloved, or bring it to share at a holiday brunch with friends and family, pair it with cheese and wine, it’s wonderful with Beekman Blaak Cheese.
I’m saving and preserving the seeds to plant my own trees, if you come across it, please give it a try, it’s a rare treat and you’ll be glad you did! I was inspired to finish the butter off with rose water because I found several beautiful Victorian paintings online of roses and quince together, and it makes it really special.
I tweaked several recipes online to develop this wonderful Vanilla Rose Quince Butter
What you need:
- 4 Cups Of Water
- 1/2 Teaspoon Rose Water
- 1 Cup Of Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Paste or 2 Fresh Vanilla Beans
- 1 1/2 pounds quince about 5 large ones, cored, peeled, and quartered (I tripled the recipe due to picking about 4 pounds)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Bring water and sugar to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Add quince, vanilla and lemon. Cook over medium-low heat 45 minutes stirring occasionally and until very tender. Remove from heat. Remove quince from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid. Place quince in a food processor; process until smooth.
Cook reserved cooking liquid over medium-high heat, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 230°. Remove from heat; stir in pureed quince pulp and rose water Cool; and jar it with a water bath or pressure can.
Marion Harland’s Household Guide To Common Housewifery p. 1871