It’s an apple! It’s a pear! It’s superquince!

29 November 2022

Looking like something between an apple and a pear, the quince comes across as an exotic addition to the fruit basket. However, this hard, astringent fruit, that needs to be cooked before eating, has a long history in Europe. It was already well-known in Ancient Rome having arrived from its home in Central Asia.

When cooked, quince turns from a yellow hue to a deep amber colour. In Spain, quince is the base for ‘Membrillo‘, a sweet jelly that is served with Manchego cheese. In Turkey, which accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s quince crop, it can often be found stewed in syrup as part of a classic Turkish breakfast spread alongside cheese and olives or baked in the oven and served with clotted cream. It’s also popular in Uzbekistan – we once had a plov garnshed with quince slices and cashews.

Plov with quince and cashew

Quince has quite a short season, so we decided to turn our haul into a spicy, amber-coloured chutney to prolong its shelf life. Chutney is a lot more forgiving to prepare than jam – and this one is perfect be served with crackers spread with hummus or with a selection of robust cheeses.

Ingredients (makes around 500 g of chutney)

  • 500 g quince (peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm cubes)
  • 125 g red onion (roughly chopped)
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 50 g sultanas
  • 10 g fresh ginger (grated)
  • One teaspoon paprika
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 250 ml apple (cider) vinegar

Method

  • Put all the ingredients in a heavy-based pan. Bring to Bring to the boil and then simmer over a low heat, stirring regularly, for at least one and a half hours – it should thicken up into an amber-coloured mass.
  • Allow the chutney to cool and then put into sterilised glass jars (leave the jars in an oven heated to 50 c for 30 minutes prior to filling). Leave in a dark, cool, dry place for at least four weeks. Should keep for up to a year in the cupboard.

Le Cidre Nouveau est Arrivé !

8 November 2018

We finally got round to tasting our first batch of cider made with apples sourced from Almaty, widely acknowledged as the place where the ancestors of today’s apples evolved. We’re pleased to announce that the experiment was a success!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We used locally grown aport apples, a large red and yellow coloured variety, that grows around Almaty, Kazakhstan. a big clue as to the apple’s origins can be found in the name Almaty which translates from the Kazakh as ‘the place of apples.’

For the experiment, we used five kilos of fruit, which was pressed to produce around three litres of juice. We used a juicer and a sieve with some cloth to press and filter the leftover apple pulp to squeeze out a bit more liquid.

Then the juice was poured into a clean 5-litre water container. We allowed nature to take its course, and no yeast was added to aid the fermentation process. We made an improvised airlock using a balloon with a pinhole in it (to allow the gas to escape from the fermenting liquid whilst keeping unwanted bacteria out).

Fermentation took around two weeks and then the cider was siphoned off into clean wine bottles, where it was left to mature for a year or so. The resulting cider, about 1.7 litres was produced from this batch, was a dry, pale-coloured liquid that went down all too easily.