Tag Archives: Persian Quince Drink

Lime-Quince Marmalade Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

The other day I was doing that clicking thing that happens when I look at blogs. I read a blog, click on the links to read another blog, and another. Pretty soon, I’ve read a couple of dozen blogs and find myself forgetting what it was I was doing in the first place. I stumbled upon this recipe for cardamom shortbread bars with marmalade. I’ve written about cookies more than once on this blog, and, I guess, I have a particular ‘thing’ for cookies. So, when I saw the words cardamom and shortbread together I couldn’t help but print out the recipe for some testing.

As also happens, my dreams are influenced by what I read during the day. I woke up the next morning with a variation on the recipe running through my head. It really is a complicated mix up of thoughts that brought me to it, but between the recipe on the blog, the plans I had for making quince jelly and my husband reminding me how much he wants me to save some of the quince juice for a drink we make, I ended up with a new idea.

The drink we make takes quince juice and freshly squeezed limes and sugar. It’s nothing more than limeade plus quince juice, but it tastes unbelievably good and is rather exotic. I found it in a Persian cookbook when I was desperately looking for something to do with some extra quince juice I had made once I had hit the wall with making jelly. Since it was a Persian recipe to begin with, it seemed to me that the cardamom shortbread would go with a lime-quince marmalade. As far as I can tell, there aren’t any recipes out there for lime-quince marmalade, but I found one for lime marmalade. Substituting most of the water with quince juice, I made a lime-quince marmalade jelly like substance that tastes an awful lot like the drink with a heady lime kick to it. (It’s quite yummy on English muffins.)

By following the cookie part of the recipe linked above and using my new concoction instead of the grapefruit marmalade, I got a cookie that would fit in on a plate of Christmas cookies (pretty colors) and also fill in for a dessert at the end of a middle eastern dinner. I’d never had to grate frozen cookie dough before, so I thought it would be fun to do a time-lapse of the process. This brief clip shows the whole process once the dough has been frozen for two hours until they are put away. This video shows the way the cookies are put together.

Lime-Quince Marmalade
8 Cups quince Juice
2 pounds limes
one cup water
9-10 cups sugar
14 cup canning jars, lids and rings, processed and hot

Carefully grate the lime peel off the limes, removing the green part with as little as the white pith beneath. I used a regular grater for this and then chopped up the pieces. Juice the limes.

Put the quince juice, the lime peels, the lime juice and the water in a heavy non-reactive stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for two hours. This softens the peel and infuses the quince juice with yummy limeness.

Bring to a boil, add the sugar and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to medium and stir, stir, stir, stir. Just keep standing there stirring. For a long time. Until the mixture comes to 219° F. Pour into waiting hot jars and allow to seal at room temp.

Quince Juice

Lime Peels

Quince Juice
Finding quinces is going to be the tricky part. Quinces are a fruit that have a brief season and show up in the stores for just a week or two in October. To make quince juice, you just wash off all the fuzz, quarter the fruit and toss it in a huge pot. Add enough water that it shows through the fruit but is not floating, bring to a boil, cover and cook until the fruit is moosh. Strain well. If you have a jelly bag, you can use that. I usually put it through a colander first, then a fine mesh sieve, and finally a sieve lined in wet cheesecloth. I’m not too picky about it being perfectly clear, though. If you want to make super clear jelly, then doing an over-night hang with a jelly bag will keep it from getting any cloudiness.

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Ambrosia from the Orchard

One bowl, about a third of the total harvest. These are "Smyrna" quinces.

Last year’s quince harvest was lame–a singular fruit that I think I forgot about in the depths of the fridge. In the linked post, I was bemoaning the lack of quince while still dealing with the remaining jars of “not quite jelly” from the 2009 harvest. This year’s was more like the one in 2009, giving some credence to the “every-other-year” theory of fruit production.

I wasn’t exactly thrilled to have to deal with three huge bowls of quinces this weekend, but I also didn’t want to watch the fruit drop to the ground and get eaten and stomped to mush by the deer. We already lost a bunch of apples that way, and I didn’t want that to happen to this precious fruit.

It used to be every orchard had a quince tree, but the fruit has gone out of favor. I’ve seen small quantities of PCC in the fall, but it’s never available out of season. The rise of commercial pectin has made making jelly extremely easy and the humble quince unnecessary for the process. Before “Sure-Jell” and “Pomona’s Pectin” the home jelly maker had to rely upon quince or very long hours of cooking to make jelly. A quince or two in the jelly pot would provide enough jell-factor for just about any fruit. And still does, but who needs a quince when you have a sure-fire way of making jelly without it?

According to mythology, the quince was a gift from Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Thus quinces are widely represented in Greek paintings and mosaics as a symbol of commitment and fertility. An Athenian wedding tradition called for friends and family to toss quinces into the bridal chariot after a wedding. Some scholars even believe that quince may have been the “forbidden fruit” that Eve fed to Adam.

After washing, the fruit is cut into chunks and put into a big pot to cook until soft.

A number of people have told me they’ve never had quince before. I thought, “I’ll make a bunch of jelly and put it in small jars so I can let more people taste this stuff. I’ll make converts. People will rise up and demand quince trees all over the world!” Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find 8oz jars at the store! Seriously? I am pretty sure people do not want a quart of any kind of jelly, no matter how delicious. I went through my stock and found about a dozen 1/2pt jars and eventually ended up ordering more online. Turns out that the best place to get canning jars is Ace Hardware.

I have more than five gallons of quince juice from two different trees. I’ll put at least half of that into jelly–made the old-fashioned “add sugar and cook for a long time” method. The other half will stay in the freezer and be turned into the Persian drink I mentioned in the blog post linked at top. I finished cooking the last batch of fruit just a little while ago, and the heady scent fills the house in a most delicious way.

The juice is strained and then cooked in small, four cup batches, to make jelly. I use about 3/4 C sugar per cup of juice and take it to 219 degrees F. It's about half an hour of standing and stirring.


The jelly is poured into hot, clean jars and left to seal.


The final color of the jelly is magical. The fruit is yellow, gets brownish when it oxidizes, and then turns into a lovely jewel.

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