Justin and Justina, two fictional, similarly-named and unusual friends, have featured in many New Leaf Journal dialogues (see series). Our dynamic duo tackled Christmas the last two years with a dialogue in 2020 about choosing presents and a 2021 dialogue on checking the mail for holiday cards. (You should appreciate how impressive this is in light of the fact that they are preparing to narrate our New Years Day year-in-review post, see their work in 2020 and 2021). Today, we are three days shy of the 2022 edition of Christmas. Surely, Justin and Justina have an appropriately-themed holiday for the occasion. They no doubt do. Let us learn their thoughts on the quince (wait… what?).

(Note: The author of this dialogue is not a quince expert. Moreover, he knows not whether reports of quince scarcity in Manhattan are accurate. His quince knowledge is somewhat on par with Justin’s in the dialogue, although he leaves it up to readers to decide how to read Justin the character.)

Dialogue: On the quince shortage

Justin and Justina are walking through Manhattan in December, just days away from Christmas. Justina is cold. Justin insists that she has a cold mental state. Same old, same old. They walk by a fruit and vegetable store with its wares on display outdoors. Justina stops, looks, and frowns.

Quince troubles

Justin: What’s wrong? Whoa, cauliflower is expensive!
Justina: No quince.
Justin: Come again?

Photo by Bicanski on Pixnio.  Public domain photo of a single quince on a tree.
Photo by Bicanski on Pixnio. Public domain photo of a single quince on a tree.

Justina: I’m concerned.
Justin: Why are you concerned, Justina?
Justina: No one is selling quinces.
Justin: I’m none too familiar with the quince.
Justina: How are you not familiar with it? They’re amazing!
Justin: Maybe because no one sells them.

Quince vs pear

Justina: Look, look at it here on my phone.
Justin: Is that a pear?
Justina: No, it’s related to a pear though.
Justin: Here’s the fundamental question. If I bit into a quince, would I think it’s a pear?
Justina: No! Quinces are very sour raw.
Justin: Character-building fruit, I approve. It is a fruit, right?
Justina: I think so?
Justin: Don’t end your statements with a high rising terminal. It makes me doubt your subject-matter authority.
Justina: Anyway, it’s a fruit. It’s amazing. I think they taste fine raw.

What does Justina do with the quince?

Justin: I knew you were in possession of high character. What do you do with the quince though?
Justina: Cook it?
Justin: The high rising terminal again…
Justina: It’s good fried.
Justin: What if frying fruit is against my entire belief system?
Justina: I’d say that’s good.
Justin: Except zuichinni though. Squash really. Fruit that can persuasively masquerade as vegetables.
Justina: I like quince sauteed with potatoes.
Justin: I hope sweet potatoes at least…
Justina: Why would they have to be sweet potatoes?
Justin: I don’t know about this.
Justina: You can also boil the quince with other fruit.
Justin: I don’t believe in boiling fruit.
Justina: I believe in boiling you.
Justin: Thank you, that is the nicest thing you’ve said to me all year.
Justina: You make kompot. It’s a fruit drink.
Justin: Do you take the fruit out before you drink?
Justina: Sure.
Justin: Acceptable. I’ll take two.
Justina: I’m not giving any to you.
Justin: I thought you were being nice today.
Justina: I already gave you a guinea pig last year.
Justin: That’s technically your guinea pig that I have to care for.
Justina: You’re too into technicalities.

Justin researches the quince (NPR)

Justin: Alright, time to research the quince. Let’s sit down somewhere.
Justina: I don’t want to sit! It’s cold!
Justin: Ok, we can stand while I undertake important quince research.
Justina: I’m starting to regret bringing this up…
Justin: Demystifying The Quince by NPR. Time to finally get something for my tax money.
Justina: …
Justin: Oh look, they have a bunch at a market in Oregon.
Justina: Really!?
Justin: Yeah, in 2009.
Justina: …
Justin: The article was published on November 11, 2009.
Justina: So this doesn’t help me buy a quince?
Justin: High rising terminal…
Justina: Is that your thing for the day? Not as bad as I’m sensitive whenever someone begins a question with don’t.
Justin: Well I am! Anyway, NPR says it’s generally too sour to eat raw.
Justina: Pansies.
Justin: What?
Justina: Nothing.
Justin: High pectin content.
Justina: You have high pectin content.
Justin: Don’t be jelly.
Justina: …
Justin: I’m svelte anyway. Apparently it was popular stateside through the nineteenth century.
Justina: Why did America lose its way?
Justin: Other sources of pectin.
Justina: So it’s your fault.
Justin: Jelly much?
Justina: The terminal! You did the terminal!
Justin: Says some quinces can be eaten raw.
Justina: They all can if you’re not weak.
Justin: What was that?
Justina: Nothing.
Justin: Barbara Ghazarian says its the “quintessential slow food.”
Justina: Who?
Justin: You don’t know her? She makes such as lamb-stuffed quince dolmas and a sweet-tart quince and parsnip stew — recipes drawn from her Armenian ancestors.
Justina: Those do sound good.
Justin: I’m not so sure.
Justina: I’m not sure about many things. For example, why am I standing outside in 30-something degrees while you read an article about quinces?
Justin: You know they say Floyd Mayweather would lull his opponent into his rhythm.
Justina: What are you talking about?
Justin: Simmer them and drizzle white wine syrup on them?
Justina: Classy!
Justin: San Joaquin Valley grew most of our quinces as of 2009.
Justina: Let’s go!
Justin: California. Wrong coast.
Justina: It’ll be worth it.
Justin: Quince season runs through December, according to this article.
Justina: Then where are they!?

Justin looks up quince recipes

Justin: Let’s look up some quince recipes.
Justina: I’m walking.
Justin: Fine, I’ll try to read and walk. I hate it when people do that though. Keep an eye out for me.
Justina: Why don’t you do this later?
Justin: Gives me an excuse to not stare into bright headlights. I forgot my driving glasses.
Justina: You don’t drive…
Justin: First we have Korean-Inspired Quince Tea from Life & Lemons. Oh man, Life & Lemons. I see what they just did there.
Justina: Better than The New Leaf Journal.
Justin: You’re not allowed to say that here.
Justina: Hmph.
Justin: Seems like they’re popular in Korea.
Justina: They are?
Justin: Appropriate terminal. Wonder if the big guy up North imports them too. NPR did say they go with cheese. No way though — that guy isn’t into fruit. Has to be all South Korea these days.
Justina: Quince and cheese sounds good… Do you think we could open a cheese shop together?
Justin: Absolutely. 2023 resolution.
Justina: I’ll have forgotten about it by 2023 though…
Justin: Let’s see this recipe. You need a jar, a quince…
Justina: Just one quince?
Justin: One quince. Apple or pear type. Wait, there are types?
Justina: Keep going.
Justin: Lemon, ginger, honey. You know this sounds not bad.
Justina: I’ll read the full recipe when I get home.

English quince jams and marmalades

Justin: Now we turn to The Foods of England Project to learn about quince jams (archived).
Justina: England?
Justin: I’ll have you know they know their jams and marmalades. I know you must be a big fan of At Home with Venetia in Kyoto (archived) on NHK World.
Justina: Who on what?
Justin: Wow. Kids these days don’t watch the best that television has to offer.
Justina: I’m so confused.
Justin: Let’s look into jams and marmalades.
Justina: I thought you didn’t like cooked fruit.
Justin: I’m no marmalade boy, but I’m open to something that would go well with tea, toast, and the paper.
Justina: Are you making weird references again?
Justin: Based on target demographics, I shouldn’t be the one holding whatever reference I may or may not have made over you.
Justina: You’re exhausting.
Justin: So our first recipes are from Mrs. Mary Eales’s recepts, which was published in 1718.
Justina: 1718…?
Justin: Looks like the 1733 edition is available on Project Gutenberg — need to save this one to the file.
Justina: File?
Justin: You can read more about these recipes in The New Leaf Journal.
Justina: …Foreshadowing.
Justin: Next we have quince jam and quince marmalade from May Byron’s Pot-luck; or, The British Home Cookery Book, published in 1914.
Justina: At least we’re in the 20th century…
Justin: 1914 was a nice quiet time. Not much going on.
Justina: Really?
Justin: No, I lied. Anyway, the first recipe, quince jam, calls for one-half pound of sugar…
Justina: Where would I find a pound of quinces!? I can’t even find one quince!
Justin: …and one teacupful of water for every pound of quinces.
Justina: This recipe would bankrupt me if I ever found a quince. How big is a teacupful anyway?
Justin: About four ounces, apparently.
Justina: So a half-cup? They should speak normally.
Justin: 1914, Justina.
Justina: No excuse.
Justin: May Byron’s second recipe is for quince marmalade. Here we need to cut the quinces into quarters, and for every pound of quince…
Justina: Where am I getting all of this!?
Justin: …add three-quarters of a pound of loaf sugar with a little water. Then you’ll be doing some boiling and simmering.
Justina: It’s easier when it’s done for you.

Medieval quince recipes

Justin: So I understand you’re looking for some modern, practical recipes.
Justina: That and someone willing to take my money and give me a quince.
Justin: I found a marmalade of quinces recipe on Medieval Cookery.
Justina: You’re just trying to antagonize me.
Justin: All you need is 2 and one-half pounds of quinces, 2 and one-half pounds of sugar, and 2 cups of water.
Justina: Where am I finding that many quinces?
Justin: Need to stir the mixture until it becomes very thick. They put very in bold. Don’t forget.
Justina: Can I forget you?

Quince and apple marmalade

Justin: I found a promising one for quince and apple marmalade on FoodRederence.com.
Justina: I guess that sounds good, and it’s modern?
Justin: Food Reference says it has been a website since 1999. Looks it too.
Justina: Where are you finding all of this stuff? One of your weird search thingies?
Justin: Marginalia Search isn’t weird, it’s unique.
Justina: …Anyway… why is apple and quince marmalade promising?
Justin: Theoretically — let’s say you can’t find quinces, right? You could just use more apples.
Justina: I hate you.

Wrapping up

Justin: Seems like you can do quite a bit with quinces. Eat them raw if you don’t mind sour stuff, fry them, sauté with potatoes and/or meat, turn into jam or marmalade, or even boil into juice or tea. You may be on to something, Justina.
Justina: But you didn’t find somewhere to actually buy them!
Justin: Did you know that they grow them in San Joaquin Valley?