We have November. Apples have long since been harvested. Only quinces remaines on the trees.
Do you know what kind of fruit it is? I didn’t know quince. I haven’t encountered quinces as food in Japan either. On Wikipedia though they name it as Japanese quince. In Japan, the quince shrub or tree is rather for ornamental use. It has beautiful flowers of all shades from white and pink to deep red. I recognized quince as fruit only in Turkey, where I lived with my first husband and our children for three years. They were not Japanese quinces but quinces Cydonia oblonga and the fruit was beautifully yellow. At first I thought it was pears. But when I bit into them, it was immediately clear, it was not. It can’t be eaten raw. It wasn’t pears. Quince jam, quince jelly, quince candies, all were sold in Turkey. I cheered when a few years ago my friend Zina offered me that I could have quinces from a whole tree in full age of fertility.
Every year in Poděbrady we harvest at our friend’s garden a few boxes of this hard fruit, interestingly sour, which spoils very quickly. When I bring quince to the kitchen in Miyabi, the chefs and even our cleaning lady must start cutting work immediately. But it’s not so bad, there is no need to peel quinces. We’ll just cut out the bugs and a little cores. The peel is valuable. It has wonderful fragrance and, like all fruits, its peel is the strongest source of vitamins and minerals. Quince contains vitamins C and E, as well as potassium, iron and copper. Their pectin and tannin work well on the intestines and reduce inflammation. Pectin also lowers blood cholesterol. The most interesting thing about quinces is that they are so aromatic. I only had them in the car for less than a day and the empty car still smells after three days. Beautiful. Quincy fragrance. It is a bit citrus like, although quinces are not citrus.
Quince in kitchen
This year, we decided to prepare from qunince dense jams in Miyabi, which in America are called butter. They are as soft as butter, so that’s why. Miyabi can’t serve guests inside now, so we’ve at least added a glass of quince butter to the take away menu. It occurred to me that quinces as they have a bit aroma as citrus, could go well with yuzu. And we gave inside the butter a lot of yuzu. Result? Great. We only have 50 glasses of this goodness. Taste it! I also designed for you a quince kanten jelly prepared from quinces and of course – yuzu is inside too. We have put kanten in plastic boxes, like we had our sakura kanten. As such this dessert is suitable from the take away. You can happily add this sweet goodies to you meal order.
Did you know that quince is a symbol of fertility? Yes it is. According to Greek custom, even newlyweds were to eat whole quinces raw, wishing to have many children. Quince is also called Kydon or golden apple. It has so many names! Venus apple. Parid’s golden apple. The golden apple of Hesperins, who guarded the apples of immortality. We know from the mythology of the Trojan War that quince is described as an apple of contention. The goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite quarreled over this golden apple, who of them three is the most beautiful. So it seems to me that we still don’t know enough about this beautiful fruit quince. Definitely worth knowing.
Have you noticed that yuzu is in the title standing first and I’m actually starting with quince? Despite the impressive names, the quince is like an introductory figure. Yuzu is yuzu. There is nothing like it! I’m not saying this just myself, many chefs are so much interested in yuzu. They enjoy the aroma and taste of its pulp and juice. Pulp, you better not eat. It is full of seeds and there is no pleasant meat in it. And it is also slightly bitter. And sometimes yuzu doesn’t even look nice. It has such a twisted, wrinkled bark, and if you want to pluck the fruit from the tree, you will prick yourself on a thorn. Yuzu gives you a lot of obstacles and scares you that there won’t be much of a friendship. But once you taste yuzu with some food, you become a yuzu maniac. Like me.
My Japanese friend Hiroko san even calls me Yuzu Darya. And every time I come to Japan to see her, and maybe even after a few years, she definitely serves a few dishes with yuzu. She just remembers this about me. When we see each other in the fall, she brings a whole bag of these little yellow gems ready for me. In Japan, they grow in almost all gardens. Yuzu is widely used. The Japanese even put yuzu in their bath tub sat the time of the peak of winter. The hot water smells and it’s a fun as yuzu citruses float all around you. Yuzu ofuro.
I tasted yuzu grown in California, I tasted yuzu grown in Spain, but the Japanese ones can’t match the others. Only the Japanese has strong and wonderful intense aroma and taste. You may ask, is it a little grapefruit? is not. Lemon? is not. And the orange? is not. Hassaku? is not. Sudachi? is not. A mandarin? neither is it. It may have a little bit of every of these, but yuzu is a chapter for itself. I repeat – there is nothing like yuzu. Yuzu is number one. Nippon ichi!
Yuzu in kitchen
Try just to put a little slice of yuzu peel in a clear soup of dashi broth and you have an absolute delicacy. How much different from a lemon slice! They look the same, but what wonders yuzu can do! Incredibly good! And when you have a wagashi dessert made only from pure bean shiroan and you add yuzu peel, you have a dessert that your heart is over.
In Miyabi, we also prepare a sauce, where the yuzu is mixed with miso. There’s also some rice vinegar. Yuzusumiso. We also have this as a take away product. And what else? Yes, sake with yuzu. We can offer you that too. In great quality. You may like egg cognac for Christmas, but now in the fall, treat yourself to yuzu Japanese sake. Even just a glass of this will bring you a lot of joy. You can also add yuzu to a fermented amazake rice drink. And what about yuzumochi! When I get to Japan, the first things I buy are my favorite mochi with yuzu. They are from a famous patisserie and sell them in the Takashimaya department store on the basement floor with delicacies. As I am writing these sentences, I picture Japan in my mind and the places where I like it rise in my memory. You are certainly with me. Japan beautiful!
Yuzu. What does this fruit contain? What benefits? It is especially rich in vitamins A and C. Also in vitamins B1, B2 and B6. It contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 too. Yuzu adds to your body potassium, selenium, calcium, magnesium or zinc. Yuzu is simply a citrus whose juice is good to partake. And thinking about the smell! It charms you directly.