Of the Quince it's Nature and Virtues and How To Make Chardequince

What is Quince? The quince is a member of the Rosaceae family, which also includes apples, pears, apricots, plums and roses. It is one of the earliest known cultivated fruits and appears in many medieval recipes.

Recipes for quince can be found as early as the first century. Dioscorides suggests that quinces which have been peeled and have had their pips removed should be placed into a container as tightly as possible. The container should then be filled with honey and allowed to sit. After approximately a year the fruit will become soft. This was called melomeli, or apple in honey (Wilson, 1985).

The Greeks referred to quinces as Cydonian Apples. In the fourth century, recipes for cidonitum appear. To make this thick spiced jellyish preserve quinces are either peeled and boiled in honey, seasoned with ginger and pepper or they are boiled in a mixture of vinegar and the aforementioned spices and then cooked to the consistency of honey (Wilson, 1985). It is most likely these earliest forms of preserved quinces that became the Elizabethan Chardequynce.

Also loke ye haue in all seasons butter, chese, apples, peres,notes, plommes, grapes, dates, fygges, & raysyns, compost, grene ginger and chardequynce (Furnivall, 1868).
Excerpt from: A nievve herball, or historie of plantes wherin is contayned the vvhole discourse and perfect description of all sortes of herbes and plantes: their diuers [and] sundry kindes: their straunge figures, fashions, and shapes: their names, natures, operations, and vertues: and that not onely of those whiche are here growyng in this our countrie of Englande, but of all others also of forrayne realmes, commonly vsed in physicke. First set foorth in the Doutche or Almaigne tongue, by that learned D. Rembert Dodoens, physition to the Emperour: and nowe first translated out of French into English, by Henry Lyte Esquyer.

Of the Quince tree. Chap. xxxix.

¶ The Kyndes.

THere be two sortes of Quinces: ye one is rounde & called the Apple Quince : the other is greater, and fashioned lyke a Peare, and is called the Peare Quince.

❀ The Description.
THE Quince tree neuer groweth very high, but it bringeth foorth many brāches as other trees do. The leaues be roundishe, greene vppon the vpper side, and white and soft vnder, the rest of the proportion, is lyke to the leaues of the common Apple tree. The flower changeth vpon purple mixed with white: after the flowers cōmeth the fruite of a pleasant smel, in proportion somtimes rounde as an Apple thruste togither, and sometimes long lyke a Peare, with cer∣tayne embowed or swellyng diuisions, somewhat resembing the fashion of a gar∣lyke head, and when the hearie cotton or downe is rubbed of, they appeare as yel∣low as golde. In the middest of the fruite is the seede or kernelles lyke to other Apples.
❀ The Place.

Quince trees are planted in gardens, and they loue shadowy moyst places.

❀ The Tyme.
The Quince is ripe in September and October.

❀ The Names.
The Quince tree is called in Greeke κυδώνι (kythoni or kydoni): in Latine, Malus cotonea: in high Douche Quittenbaum, oder Kuttenbaum: in base Almaigne, Queap∣pelboom: in Frenche, Coingnaciere.
The fruite is called in Greeke κυδώνι (kythoni or kydoni): in Latine, Malum Cotoneum: in Shoppes, Cytonium: in Frenche, Coing: in high Douch, Quitten opffel, and Kutten opffel: in base Almaigne, Queappel: in English, a Quince , & an Apple, or Peare Quince.
Some call the rounde fruite, Poma Citonia: in Englishe, Apples Quinces: in Frenche, Pomme de Coing or Coing in base Almaigne, Queappelen.
The other fruite whiche hath the likenes of a Peare, Galen calleth Struthia: and it is called in Englishe, the Peare Quince : in Frenche, Pomme de Coing, Coignasse: in base Almaigne, Quepeeren, of some Pyra Cytonia.

❀ The Nature.
The Quince is colde in the first degree, and drie in the second, and astringent or binding.

❀ The Vertues.
The Quince stoppeth the laske or common fluxe of the belly, the Dysenterie, & all fluxes of blood, and is good against the spitting of blood, especially when it is rawe: for when it is either boyled or rosted, it stoppeth not so muche, but it is than fitter to be eaten, and more pleasant to the taste.
The woman with childe that eateth of Quinces oftentimes, either in meate or otherwayes, shal bring foorth wise children of good vnderstanding, as Simeon Sethy writeth.
The Codignac, or Marmelade made with honie (as it was wonte to be made in times past) or with sugar, as they vse to make it nowe a dayes, is very good and profitable for the stomacke to strengthen the same, and to retaine and keepe the meates in the same, vntill they be perfectly digested.
Being taken before meate, it stoppeth the laske: and after meate it loseth the belly, and closeth the mouth of the stomacke so fast, that no vapours can come foorth, nor ascende vp to the brayne: also it cureth the headache springing of suche vapours.
The decoction or broth of Quinces, hath the lyke vertue, and stoppeth the belly and all fluxe of blood, with the violent running foorth of womens sicke∣nesse.
With the same they vse to bathe the loose fundement, and falling downe of the mother, to make them returne into their natural places.
They do very profitably mixe them with emplaysters, that be made to stop the laske and vomiting. They be also layde vpon the inflammations, and hoate swellinges of the breastes and other partes.
The downe or heare Cotton that is founde vppon the Quinces, sodden in wine, and layde therevnto healeth Carbuncles, as Plinie writeth.
The oyle of Quinces stayeth vomitinges, gripings in the belly or stomacke with the casting vp of blood, if the stomacke be annoynted therewith.
The flowers of the Quince tree do stoppe the fluxe of the belly, the spetting of blood, and the menstruall flowers. To conclude, it hath the same vertue as the Quinces them selues.

Chardequince – Take quinces and divide in four pieces with a knife, and take the flesh separated from the pips and boil it in a pan with clear water until it is very soft, then remove from the fire and strain through the middle of a strainer or sieve; and if there are 8 pounds of flesh, add 6 pounds of clarified honey, and put it over the fire and let it boil stirring continuously until it is completely cooked, and test it in this way: take a knife, and take some of the mixture on the point of the knife and let it cool, if it is stiff, then it is cooked enough. Then remove from the fire and stir well until it begins to turn white; then add two pounds of eringo powder (Eryngium maritimum, Sea Holly. "A “venereal” plant, “hot and moist” in character. Served Candied and in Marmalades), 3 ounces of ginger, very finely chopped, and 6 ounces of ground ginger, and put all this combined into boxes and keep until needed.

And this way you can make Chardewardon (pear paste), Chardecrab (crab apple paste) and Chardedate, but the dates shall be ground in a mortar and not cooked, and the honey shall be cooked until it sticks hard between the fingers, and then put in the dates, and if you want to prepare it with sugar, put to one pound of pulp 2 pounds of clarified sugar, 2 ounces of spices as stated above, except that you do not put in eringo powder (Hieatt, C. B. (2013). The Culinary Recipes of Medieval England. Blackawton, Totnes, Devon: Prospect Books.)



1 Pound Quince - cut in quarters, pared and seeds removed
12 Ounces Honey (Note: Sugar can be substituted. If you are using honey, make sure stabilizers have not been added)
1/4 pound Eringo Powder(opt. I cannot find it in my area)
2 1/4 tsp. Ginger Chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. Ground Ginger

Place quince in a pot and add enough water to cover quince and bring to a simmer. Cook until fruit is very soft and easy to mash. Strain fruit (Water can be saved along with peels and seeds to make quince jelly), and either mash with a potato masher or place in a blender, and process until smooth. Strain through a strainer and add the honey and cook over low heat, stirring often until the paste has thickened to the point a spoon run through it leaves a furrough behind. This can take up to forty-five minutes.

Remove from fire and stir until the past begins to cool and lightens in color (Note: I usually skip this step). Add Eringo, chopped ginger and ground ginger, mix thoroughly, and pour the quince paste into a parchment lined pan and allow to dry. Full flavor should be developed in 3-4 weeks.

To serve, turn paste out onto a board and slice. Can be stored in a cool, dry location pretty much forever.