This shrub thrives even in the relatively shaded location, flowering in spring with beautiful bright red flowers and fruiting in October/November.
An extremely low maintenance plant, this shrub thrives without any attention at all, coping with temperatures down to minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 25 degrees Celsius) and so easily able to withstand winter conditions in even the most extreme years here in Scotland.
Can They Be Eaten Raw?
The small apple-like fruits of Japanese quince are certainly not eaten raw, since they are simply too acidic and astringent. Unlike the typical quince, you would never eat these straight from the garden. However, you should not let this put you off, since there are a range of other ways to use these fruits if they are growing in your garden.
Using It as a Lemon Juice Substitute
For recipes that require some acidity, Japanese quince (like gooseberries that are underripe) can be juiced and used as a substitute for lemon juice. This can be useful in climates where lemons are difficult to grow.
In order to squeeze the fruits like a lemon, you need to wait for the fruits to be softened by the first few hard frosts, as they stay very hard before this time. The juice of Japanese quince actually contains more vitamin C than lemon juice, as well as other nutrients, so it can be healthy to add a bit to a morning juice or smoothie.
Japanese Quince Jams and Jellies
These fruits come into their own when cooked into a sweet preserve. High in pectin, they make it easy to ensure that your preserves will set. Japanese quince jellies and jams don’t taste like those made from regular quinces, but they do have a great taste and aroma.
You can also simply toss some of the hard fruits into the pan when you are making other jellies and jams, to help those made with fruits lower in pectin to set.
Japanese Quince and Apples—the Perfect Pairing
While Japanese quince can certainly be used on its own to make a jam, jelly, or other preserve, enjoy pairing these fruits with apples. A Japanese quince and apple jam is one of favorites—a tart spread almost like a citrus marmalade to spread on toast.
Candied Japanese Quince Slices
There are other ways to use these fruits, such as creating candied Japanese quince slices. Simply boil slices with seeds removed in a sugar syrup to yield candied slices for a sweet snack, or for use as cake toppers, or in baking.
Japanese Quince-Infused Honey
Another way to use these fruits is to boil the hard fruits in jars filled with honey for an infusion that tastes fantastic. You can even use these outside the kitchen. The hard fruits are very fragrant and can impart a lovely fragrance to linens or to your home.
Using Japanese quince alongside apples is the winning formula, and any recipe pairing these two always goes down best in home.