Just to the right of our side door is a rather large green prickly bush. In spring it blossomed with lovely red pint trumpet shaped blooms that attracted a large number of bumble bees, hummingbirds and other wildlife.
As the flowers faded and small green fruit began to form,my landlady mentioned that a previous tenant used them as a room freshener and that they were quince. The knowledge sat all summer with me and I kept meaning to look them up, but never did. I'd think of it when I was outside and walking by the bush, but forget by the time I was inside again.
Finally earlier this week I investigated quince on the web and found that what we have is a Japanese Quince, also called a flowering quince. Though the fruit is botanically different from the fruit tree quince, it is edible. Some do use it to freshen a room with its interesting fragrance. I found that it is good thing waited all summer to find out about it; the fruit ripens just before frost, turning a pale shade of yellow. The recipes I came across were either jelly, or a fruit butter. I went outside and picked a few that looked yellow and brought them inside.
It was around the dinner hour and my husband was still out of town, so I hadn't planned what I'd be eating that night. I had some corn and leeks in the fridge that needed to be consumed and decided to make soup and involve the quince. Here's what I came up with.
Corn, Chard & Quince Soup
2 large leeks
3 small quince
4 ears of corn
1 large bunch swiss chard
salt & pepper
Wash and chop the leeks. Chop the onion. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot. Add leeks and onions and saute. Cut the corn off the cob and keep both the corn and the cob. Quarter and core the quinces. When leeks and onions are clear, add 6 cups water to the pot along with the quinces and corn cobs and a generous portion of rosemary. Bring to a boil and simmer until the quinces are soft. Wash and roughly chop the leaves of the swiss chard. Remove the corn cobs, and add the swiss chard to the pot. Cook until the chard is wilted. Using a hand blender, puree the soup. Stir the corn kernels into the pureed soup. Return to a simmer and cook to warm the corn. Add a generous amount of honey. Taste for sweetness and add more as needed. Quinces are quite tart and so a good amount of honey is needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garlicky croutons.
I enjoy the soup, but frankly I'm the only one whose had it. We'll see what my husband thinks of it after he has it in his lunch today.
Post Script: My husband didn't care for the soup. So use the recipe at your own risk :)