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On how to use quinces


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:

[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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