Monday, May 11, 2009

Cydonia oblonga, Quince

Caravaggio, M.(1573-1610)
Bacchus 1595/97, Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi
The golden apple of Greek Mythology, the Quince, as depicted by Caravaggio. Along with the other fruit in this painting, it is the subject of much study and interest. One can read more on this topic 'Caravaggio's Fruit: A mirror of Baroque Horticulture' at the website of Purdue University in the US State of Indiana

It is not cold enough here to grow Quinces, however the fruit is coming into season now and
good ones are starting to appear in the markets .
The Quince or 'pear of Cydonia' is native to the Middle East (Caucasus,Turkey,and Iran) but is widely cultivated in cool temperate regions of the world .It requires a certain number of very cold days (ie.frosty) to stimulate flowering and good fruit production. In cooking, I like to use them in both sweet and savoury dishes. I bake them in a wine and sugar syrup with a bit of cinnamon added, until they turn a rich red colour surrounded by a toffee like sauce. They are also good added to a Moroccan style tagine or stew of lamb or in the Greek pork and tomato stew khirino me kithonia. It is interesting that the English word for marmalade jam, usually made from citrus fruits, is derived from the Portuguese marmelada which is made from Quinces. Worth trying as well is the famous quince paste made by Maggie Beer. In France this goes by the name of cotignac and in Spain dulce de membrillo.

1 comment:

  1. J'adore des scones avec Geleia, une confiture portugaise faite avec marmelos