The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Ornamental quince, Chaenomeles or Japonica quince recipes

Japonica quincesEvery one loves the look of a quince from a tree. The large size, the slight fuzziness on the skin. The smell of a bowl of quinces can scent a room if they are allowed to ripen. A quince plucked from a tree can keep for months properly stored but windfalls need to be used pretty quickly.

We were given a quince tree a few years ago. This summer it hasn’t been happy – losing a lot of leaves during July and generally looking peaky. I gave it lots of extra water and it rallied a bit but the quinces are scant and undersized. So the prospect of preserves was suddenly doll sized.

Last week I was restoring some garden furniture for a charming lady and a very gentle Dalmatian dog who live in a swish new block of flats at the bottom of Newmarket Heath. I enjoyed a day or so outside in the September sun. I was also hugely entertained by a tame squirrel that feasted on her bird table along with a robin and a crow. This motley crew distracted me as they politely took turns to feed.  It was only on the last day that I spotted the bird feeders stood in a border filled with small japonica bushes. On closer examination, the branches of these bushes were laden with plump fruit.

I scuttled indoors to announce the discovery of rich bounty.
”Ah, yes. They rotted on the ground last year. The entire crop. I used to make a wonderful quince marmalade when I was on the farm.”
“Is that the one that you mix with Seville oranges?”
“Yes, I can give you the recipe.”
A large drawer rolled open and she searched in vain for the book. Eventually she passed me a capacious bag.
“Take all the fruit, no one is interested in preserving these days.”

“Have you ever tried Membrillo?”
She shook her head.
So we struck a deal. I’d harvest the fruit and return with jelly and Membrillo. You can’t beat really fresh quince jelly melting on a wedge of pork or lamb.

I will be turning the fruit of the Ornamental quince into jelly, Membrillo  and marmalade. They taste the just the same as the fruit from a quince tree, they are just a different variety. Smaller and green with a reddish blush. Quinces are also divine baked slowly in low oven and added to stewed apples for that extra zing.

  Leave a reply


  1. Martin Walker

    I am new to this ‘string’ but have been making quince jam and jelly for the past twenty years, using Chaenomeles or Ornamental Quince – no one died ! I tried the Cydona quince just once (bought from Chatsworth Farm Shop) and they were woolly and tasteless, whereas O.Q. have a much sharper tang, with a little lemon juice added. I simply ‘core’ the fruits – again, I tried shaving usable pieces off each fruit, which was VERY time-consuming – I cut them in half horizontally, core them, then leave overnight to soften. Now I use a traditional recipe (they are high in pectin, so do not need the high pectin jam sugars; I then blitz it all, as the skins contain a lot of taste which would otherwise be wasted. I get my fruit by arrangement with the local health centre, as their car park is surrounded by ornamental quince bushes; I give them two jars back, some to friends and family, and the rest go to charity fairs. One final tip – don’t make quince jelly, unless you are prepared to wait an age for the liquor to come through the muslin – too fussy by half ! which is why I now only make jam – twenty jars at least from this year’s crop!

  2. Michele Kidd

    I made quince jelly with my ornamental fruit chaenomales. It was delish

  3. Amy Bellingham

    Where can I buy a chaenomoles(Quince) that produces large fruit.

  4. June Trevillion

    Would you please give me a recipe for Chaenomezes jam. Thank you

    • Erna Rae

      You can use the recipe for quince jam. Chaenomeles are sharper in flavour than quince. I learnt that from this site!

    • I made fruit cheese from the pulp left over after I made quince jelly. I had de seeded the japonicas beforehand. It was like a grainier membrillo. Good with a nice queso ovens
      though. I can’t believe this thread is still going!

  5. Anita Grosvenor

    Chickens love cooked quince/japonica! I give them left over fruit pulp left over from making cordial and membrillo 😀
    But I think I love japonica preserves more than chickens, do!

    • Michelle Nader

      I’m definitely going to try some recipes this fall! I am sure there will be some leftovers for the chickens!

  6. David Britton

    Have just collected mine from underneath our front window. Mmmm jelly tomorrow.

  7. Barbara Johnston

    There is a gardening show at noon on the CBC and today,a call-in was made to inquire about the use of ornamental quince for jelly. I thought I would google and discover the answer myself. This is a delightful little commentary. Thank you. I make Seville Marmalade each year and I may try the quince variety next year. Thank you.

  8. Michelle Nader

    I’m way late to this discussion, but so glad to have found it. I’ve had two different ornamental quince bushes for 20 years, and always threw the fruit away because I assumed ornamental meant inedible. I was looking it up to see if chickens could eat it, and found this! Too late for this year, I threw them away, but I’ll definitely try these suggestions next year.

  9. Jim, that is great, thank you for your advice, membrillo to be made soon!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,237,283 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder