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 Definition Deciduous tree Cydonia oblonga or (synonym) Cydonia vulgaris, which grows a pear-shaped edible fruit, with flesh similar to that of the apple. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Food Science and Agriculture [Categories OK]
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Silly but serious question

As far as I can remember, I've never tasted one. Could someone give an idea of the flavor, as difficult as that can be in words? (I don't find durian terrible, but I know how hard that would be to describe) Howard C. Berkowitz 23:26, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

They are inedible uncooked. Something like a very bad version of a cooking apple -- very tart, crisp but with a pleasant aroma. I will write some more about this aspect, and two ancient recipes that I use -- one for a meat dish and the other for a dessert Martin Baldwin-Edwards 23:36, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! Perhaps the local equivalent, in some respect, is the cranberry, which is generally too hard, raw, to eat. For most people, it is also too sour. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:47, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Being a good New Englander, I grew up eating quince jelly with a lot of things, the way Americans eat mint jelly with lamb, and cranberry jelly with chicken and turkey, and apple sauce with pork. It was, as I recall, widely available for sale in all grocery stores, in bottles, and was a clear dark yellow or pale brown in color, the same consistency as mint jelly (which, of course, is mint-flavored apple jelly). As the years went by it became harder and harder to find in stores -- even the redoubtable up-scale stores like Draegers in the Palo Alto area don't have it. I finally found some by "Amos", purported rustics in the Pennsylvania Dutch area, and ordered a dozen bottles over the Net. It has a pleasant, fruity taste somewhere between pear and apple, but with its own characteristics, of course. I love to eat it with corned beef hash, with a tomato-rice-Jones Sausages casserole, left-over stews that have run out of sauce, and various things of that nature, depending on my whim. I don't eat it regularly, but when I want some, I *really* want it. The Waverly Root section on it has a long disquisition on childhood tastes and the changing tastes of Westerners as sugar became more common -- which accounts, he thinks, for the Decline and Fall of the quince. Hardier peoples in earlier times would eat it raw, or maybe sweetened with honey or some such.... Hayford Peirce 23:55, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
They dined on mince, and slices of quince. Which they ate with a runcible spoon... You might appreciate my Asia Minor recipe for sliced quince, served with thick unsweetened yoghourt. When you boil the slices in sugared water, they turn bright red, and acquire an unique flavour (and lose all the pectin, I would guess). Martin Baldwin-Edwards 00:05, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Sounds interesting, but I doubt if I can buy fresh quince any more in Tucson than I can buy yuzus.... Hayford Peirce 01:28, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Another serious question

What on earth is a "cultivar"? Someone who cultivates, I assume, or something associated with "cultivation", but since I honestly can't believe that there are only 8 people in the great You Ess of Ay who are growing quinces, then it must mean something else. Yes, yes, I know that I can look up the word, but let's look at it this way: if *I* don't know what it means, then I think another word should be used, or that this one should be explained. Hayford Peirce 00:00, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I presume it is the scientists' word for variety. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 00:05, 21 March 2011 (UTC) Looking at the WP page, it needs an article on CZ..... Aha! we already have the article, so I have linked it now. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 00:11, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

And let's not forget Thomas de Quincey

The opium eater. Or the Owl and the Pussycat in their beautiful pea-green boat, "who dined upon mince, and pieces of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon." I've had a number of cats who loved to eat melon, but I never thought to tempt them with quince.... Hayford Peirce 00:06, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Nor Shakespeare's Peter Quince -- nor Wallace Stevens's. Bruce M. Tindall 01:08, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Inconsequential comment

I cannot think of quinces without thinking of Rosie Perez in White Men Can't Jump learning 'foods beginning with "Q"'! Aleta Curry 00:29, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Go bowls

In Go (board game), the bowls that hold the stones are fairly often made of "Chinese quince" wood. Is that the same species? It is a lovely wood. I have a pair bought in China which I think are quince; the vendor wrote something down for me and a Chinese friend translated it as "pear".

In Japan, there's a sort of hierarchy about it, The traditional wood for bowls is mulberry, preferably from certain islands. That's phenomenally expensive, as are the other traditional materials, clam shell & slate stones or kaya wood for boards. Chinese quince is second choice for bowls and fairly expensive. Page on a Go wiki and a web vendor whose quince bowls start at $350 a pair. Pictures of a range of bowls including quince. Sandy Harris 01:05, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Japanese quince [Chaenomeles japonica] is a different genus altogether. Historically, it was thought to be a relative of the edible quince but it isn't. It is known for its flowers, but obviously the wood is important too. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 08:04, 21 March 2011 (UTC) Ah... just checked... and there is also chinese quince, which I didn't know about [Pseudocydonia sinensis] apparently loosely related to both of the other quinces. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 08:08, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Picture page linked above gives Choenomeles sinensis for the Chinese one. I'll try to find out if Chinese ones are eaten. Sandy Harris 09:09, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
The Latin naming is very messy. There are multiple names even for the genus, as beliefs of relatedness have changed over time. Even the common quince has two Latin names. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:38, 21 March 2011 (UTC)