Friday, April 8, 2011

The Sweetness of Quince

These dainty quince buds graciously opened into pale coral flowers last week. They were 'forced' indoors, which means the branches were cut early. The buds opened inside after being placed in water, in a warm and sunny spot. When forced, the flowers tend to have a paler color than when they open outdoors. The species shown is Chaenomeles Speciosa-Common Flowering Quince. 
In Chinese Medicine quince is known as Mu Gua (Fructus Chaenomelis). This species grows primarily in the provinces of Anhui, Zhejiang, Hubei and Sichuan in China. The fruit is cut into pieces, dried and used in herbal preparations. It falls under the category of herbs that dispel wind-dampness. When combined with other herbs in a formula it is effective for relaxing the sinews. 
The ancient Romans revered the quince fruit and included it in the banquets of marriage as it was considered a symbol of love.
In Argentina, the origin of my mother's family,  quince fruits are made into a delicious sugary sweet paste called Dulce de Membrillo. This delicacy is served with cheese and often eaten as a dessert accompanied by strong coffee. I have fond memories of my grandmother's preciously wrapped packages of narcotically sweet,  deep orange quince paste arriving in the suitcases of family members. 

1 comment:

  1. mmm I love dulce de membrillo with cheese! Beautiful memories