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On how to use quinces

江南人不識榅桲,世南侍親官蜀,至梁、益間,方識之。大者如梨,味甜而香,用刀切,則味損而黑。凡食時,先以巾拭去毛,以巾包,於柱上擊碎,其味甚佳。蜀人以榅桲切去頂,剜去心,納檀香、沈香末,并麝少許。覆所切之頂,線縛蒸爛。取出俟冷,研如泥。入腦子少許,和勻,作小餅燒之,香味不減龍涎。

The people of Jiangnan do not know of quinces. Taking office with my family in Shu, I came to learn about this fruit somewhere around Liang and Yi.[1] The big ones like pears taste sweet and smell great. Cutting with a knife will destroy their flavour and make them turn black. To eat a quince, first wipe off the fuzz on its skin with a piece of cloth, wrap the fruit in the cloth and smash it against a pillar; the taste will be wonderful. The people of Shu may cut off the top of a quince, core it, and fill it with sandalwood powder, agarwood powder, and a pinch of musk. [They] cap it with the original top, bind it well with a thread and steam it until it is very soft. The quince is then taken out [of the steamer] to cool down and ground into a mash. A bit of camphor wood is blended [into the mash], and [the mixture] is made into small incense bricks. The fragrance is just as impressive as ambergris.


* From Zhang Shinan 張世南 (fl. 13th century), Youhuan jiwen 游宦紀聞 (Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書 edition) 2.1a-b: https://ctext.org/library.pl?if=en&file=87009&page=25.


[1] Shu roughly corresponds to modern Sichuan. “Somewhere around Liang and Yi” would be an area along the current border between Sichuan province and Shaanxi province.



Finally, a more common way of using quinces - quince jelly


 

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