What are these apple-like fruits?
July 14, 2014 9:15 PM   Subscribe

Walking down the street, I saw some hard green fruits that looked a lot like apples---hot damn, thought I, underripe apples (or crabapples), just the thing for jelly. But now I'm not so sure that's what they are.

I've got some pictures of the fruits, which are super seedy and seem immature. They were growing on a thorny shrub. (I have no pix of it since it got dark by the time I got curious about apples on (a) a shrub (b) with thorns.) The fruit is very tart. So my questions are (a) what is it and (b) should I make jelly out of it?
posted by kenko to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You got quinces, I believe. Yes, you should make jelly; it's a tradition!
posted by Atrahasis at 9:17 PM on July 14, 2014

That looks like a quince.
posted by wrok at 9:18 PM on July 14, 2014

The coulditbequince tag was too cautious, I see.

I think you're likely right—I poached the one I cut up and it definitely smells quince-like (and wonderful), though it doesn't seem to be fixing to change color. I'm used to much huger quinces, with the whole pubescence thing going on, but I won't turn these down. Thanks!
posted by kenko at 9:20 PM on July 14, 2014

Look like underripe quinces of a type I've not seen before. Ask the bush owner?

(Note to phobic, the seeds in the pic the op posted look some what disturbingly similar to teeth; click with caution)
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 9:22 PM on July 14, 2014

They're the fruits of ornamental quinces, bred for their flowers. They are much smaller and are mostly seeds but they make outrageously delicious jam. I do so with mine every year.
posted by KathrynT at 9:22 PM on July 14, 2014

Heh, the owner might not be super thrilled that I picked 2 pounds of them under cover of darkness. Now I'm wondering if it's worth it to use them given their apparent underripeness, but don't think I can argue with that aroma.
posted by kenko at 9:23 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Many owners of ornamental quinces consider the fruit to be completely negligible or even a nuisance, so you might be fine. But yeah, they'll be better if you wait 2 or 3 months.
posted by KathrynT at 9:54 PM on July 14, 2014

If you're trying to find recipes specific to this kind of quince, search for "chaenomeles", "japonica" or "flowering quince". They're a bit different to ordinary quinces (but still delicious if you prepare them properly).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:53 AM on July 15, 2014

Generally quince are ready about the same time as apples, and when they're ripe they get a slight "glow" (pink or orange usually) like apples do. And they twist off more easily, just like apples. So next year, just wait til they're about ripe and ask your neighbors. They will say yes. Nobody with ornamental quince wants the fruit, they're a hassle to rake up, they only keep them for the flowers.

Enjoy your jelly--it will be well worth it after cutting them up (IMO quince are much harder to prep than any of their relatives, but that aroma is indeed incomparable).
posted by epanalepsis at 5:55 AM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Keep an eye out on Freecycle - various places I've lived often will have owners of said trees post when fruit is ripe and abundant - all you can carry. I'd say talk to the owner and ask them about the fruit, admire it, ask if when things get ripe they'd be amenable to you picking some and splitting with them.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:35 AM on July 15, 2014

I'm gonna make some Unripe Ornamental Jelly regardless. Will this be great? I suspect it will at least be interesting. Thanks all!
posted by kenko at 7:21 AM on July 15, 2014

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