|Quinces on sale in Walthamstow Market|
Quince [Safarjal] is the distant relative of apples and pears and this distinct species is native to the warm-temperate areas of southwest Asia, in the Caucasus region. Even when ripe, the fruits are quite hard and some varieties are difficult to eat raw and for this reason are usually consumed cooked, either as preserves or in pies and desserts. Quinces usually come into season from September onwards and the ripe fruits are sweetly fragrant.
On some sites around the web there are references to the Quince fruit in the collection of Hadith recorded by an Nas'ai and also in Ibn Majah, however they not are classified as Sahih and so should not be readily attributed to the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Also, none of these Hadith appear in Ibn al Qayyim's original account regarding this fruit. Here is one for example;
It was narrated that Talhah (radhi Allahu anhu) said; "I entered upon the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and in his hand was some Quince. He said, "Take it O Talhah, for it soothes the heart."" [Ibn Majah Vol 1, Book 29, Hadith 3369] Classed as Da'if.
Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) however does mention the Quince as being a fruit of benefit in his work entitled 'The Book of Provisions of the Hereafter' and therein says that the nature of Quince is cold and dry and that it benefits the stomach and its jam benefits the heart.
He said that all varieties of this fruit quench the thirst, stop vomiting through the reduction of nausea, increase the excretion of urine, benefit in treating ulcers of the stomach.
Eating a quince after a meal softens the stomach, acts as an drying agent, abates yellow bile in the stomach and prevents vapours resulting from eating from rising upwards to the chest or brain. Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) also said eating a quince before a meal renders it a strong astringent (in that it dries up secretions). He said its best to consume quince broiled or cooked with honey.
[page 279-280 in Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) a translated work based on the works of Ibn al Qayyim (rahimullah). Translated by Jalal Abu Al-Rub - Darussalam]
Quince preserve (made with honey) acts as a tonic and a relaxant for the heart, it opens blood passages and dissipates uptightness in the chest as well as strengthening the stomach and liver. Ma sha'Allah honey is the best sweetener to use when making Quince preserves as its heat balances with the Quince's slight coldness, neutralising any potential harm in each other.
[page 308 in Natural Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by Shaikh Muhammad Al Akill - Pearl Publishing House]
A spoonful of this preserve with a bowl of freshly made Talbinah and some honey could be a beneficial daily breakfast in sha'Allah for heart patients. It can also be eaten as a delicious condiment with Barley Bread or with your usual meal.
The brothers at the Tibb-e-Nabawi Google Group also advise not to throw away the Quince pips as they are a rare gem and an expensive medicine and help against dryness of the throat and windpipe. They can be boiled in milk and eaten.
My first attempt at making Quince preserves to use as an alternative for jam;
The quince was cooked in a little water until it became soft and mashy. Then I added around 100ml of halal vinegar made from grapes and around 2 tablespoons of honey to act as preservatives.
Then the preserve was cooked down for around 4 hours on a very low flame until it changed colour and developed a thick, spreading consistency. Quinces naturally contain high amounts of pectin and so the preserve will set without any additional help. It has a lovely colour and a delicious but subtle sweet/tart flavour and is well worth making at home.