Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Japonica



Cowie's parents' have got a wonderful Japonica plant that produces very attractive green and red fruit speckled with white dots. I've been told that it is part of the quince family and therefore could be suitable for making jelly. When I heard this I got pretty excited and thought I'd do some research before I went off half cocked and poisoned people...

Does anyone know if:

a. ... the fruit in the picture is a Japonica
b. ... it is edible
c. ... I can make jelly out of them
d. ... there are any other recipes that we can try


If you can help I'd be hugely appreciative. Thanks.

11 comments:

Andy M. said...

Here's the story as I know it: Flowering quinces (aka. japonicas) are in the same subtribe of the rose family as true quinces (the 'maloids' that also includes apples and pears as well as less tasty things like Pyracantha, Cotoneaster, and Rhaphiolepis), but they're rather distantly related in this large group and, if anything, closer to pears. That being said, it seems like nearly everything in this group has been used for making jellies, even if some of them don't taste as good as others (and some are downright bitter).

The fruits of Chaenomeles (your flowering quince or japonica) are rock hard and quite bitter, although I haven't tried cooking them down and sweetening them. Others have though, like this blog that seems to report some good results in using them as quince replacements for jelly and quince paste.

There are a few other reports and recipes online, but no one jumping for joy over the results from what I can see, and it sounds like you need a lot of fruit to get a small amount of jelly. If you're interested in an experiment, go for it - you won't hurt anyone but it may not be worth the effort. I'd enjoy them for their flowers and then use some real quinces for making jellies and baking.

An American in London said...

LOL. Excellent advice, Andy!

Browners said...

@Andy M. - thanks so much for the advice. I've had a look on Cottage Smallholder and it is perfect. As you say it's a lot of effort. But well worth an experiment. I've made quince jelly before, so I'm pleased to try a variation. I may even throw some chillies in to spice it up.

That said, someone from Olive Magazine mentioned they might be a bit poisonous... sounds like the recipe may well be called "Danger Quince Jelly".

An American in London said...

Browners, I asked Andy to leave a comment bc he's a massive plant nerd (with a PhD from Berkeley in the field - he's probably going to kill me now for mentioning it).

In any event, I suppose better safe than sorry . . . .

Andy M. said...

LOL - no, cannot deny being a plant nerd (as well as an unusual food nerd):)

I can't vouch for the complete chemical profile of Chaenomeles fruit, but my guess is that you'd mostly be dealing with large amounts of pectin and vitamin c (and however many pounds of sugar you add to make it more palatable).

If you do make something with them, I'll be curious to hear the results.

Lennie Nash said...

Japonica Jelly certainly has a ring to it. Will be fascinated to find out how it turns out. Good luck with it!

Lennie

Browners said...

@Andy M. & An American in London - thanks so much for stepping in to help. I can't believe I've been given advice from someone with such knowledge. Many thanks indeed. I'll let you know how the jelly making goes!

@Lennie Nash - I'll let you know how it goes. I'm hoping it works out well.

Idle jam maker said...

I've made jelly with it - straight, spiced, with lemon, with apple and with chilli. Straight it is pleasant but not memorable; ditto with apple but add some 'christmas' spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, that sort of thing) and it starts to round out into a very nice accompaniment to chicken or turkey or pork chops. I don't know if you have ever made apple struper? Same idea but better. Lemon is nice-ish but I won't bother again. Chilli is good, but you could get something as good with apple. Given a limited supply I would go for spiced japonica jelly.

Browners said...

@Idle Jam Maker - wow. Thanks for the advice. I think a Japonica jelly with lots of interesting spices is the way forward too. But there is nothing stopping us doing a few versions to see what works best.

Neil said...

Yep make a nice jam my mum used to make, just searching for a recipe to make some using my fruit when I found your page.

Paunchos said...

@Neil - Thanks. And hope you succeeded.

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