2020, despite its myriad flaws, has been splendid for hard fruit. Our crab apple, pear and apple trees are laden. More unusually, so are all three flowering quinces. In past years they have put out two or three knobbly yellow fruits each. If used at all, these have been turned into jelly but mostly have been ignored. This year, though, each plant has tens of quinces, and that has made my wine-making thumbs twitch. I am not absolutely certain that Japonica Quince wine will work. After all, these are not the edible quinces. Neither, though, are they poisonous and there is only one way to discover whether they are suitable for wine.
|Japonica Quinces on their bush|
On 27th September I picked 4 lbs 8 oz of quinces, which is probably less than half our potential harvest. This was the bloodiest foraging that I have done: flowering quinces have fierce spikes and my left hand looks like it has done several rounds with an angry cat.
|Minor flesh wounds|
Back inside, after bathing my wounds, I checked recipes. The one requiring 20 proper quinces was out, leaving the one requiring 3 lemons and the other calling for 1 lb sultanas. I chose the latter on the basis that my previous quince wine was too dry and sultanas should help. Also, this is how I make apple wine.
|My haul of quinces|
I sliced all the quinces (after washing them) using the food processor and put them in my pan with 7 pints of water. I brought this to the boil and simmered for 15 minutes. Meanwhile I minced 12 oz sultanas (reducing the amount the recipe said, so as to preserve the delicate quince taste) and put these in my bucket with 3 lbs sugar. Once the 15 minutes was up, I poured the water and quinces (and thousands of seeds) into the bucket and stirred until the sugar was dissolved.
|The quinces, once sliced|
The next morning, Monday, I added a teaspoon each of nutrient, pectolase, citric acid and yeast. On Friday 2nd October I put the wine into its demijohn, which was a lengthy and tedious task. Japonica Quince wine appears to have 'sludge' as its main characteristic, and it was slow to drain through its sieve. Its colour is an attractive peach but there is much foam at the top and I fear it will make an attempt to escape the confines of its glass prison.
|Taken the following morning, when the|
sediment had sunk.
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.