Japanese quince (chaenomeles) karinshu, wild boozy tart and game.

Well that’s the most exciting title Ive written to date I think. Sounds like fun.

I’ve had a number of discussions about these very recently, so have decided to write up a blog post and share some recipes. For the ‘quince’ or ‘karin’s’ that is.

They are a beautifully scented fruit I like to leave them in the fruit bowl for a while 🙂 Smell like your ‘ordinary’ quince. Easier to find in friends gardens (so long as they don’t grow with chemicals)


Your ‘ordinary’ Japonica is usually grown for its beautiful flowers. I found one a couple of days ago, that still had a flower on, right at the very end of October. I intend to grow my own for the flowers and the quince



They are hard and small and on first glance not that appealing

I have easily found uses for them


Google will likely throw up a few complicted things such as quince leather but they are useful and tasty in simple recipes.

They are generally interchangeable with ‘ordinary’ quince and even pear (if it is well cooked/infusing flavour as they are extremely hard and quite sharp in flavour)


The first thing mentioned in my deceptively exciting title was karinshu, a japanese quince liqeuer.

Karins (if you can find them and find them called that anywhere in a shop) or japanese quince from a garden (grown without chemicals) are steeped in shochu a distilled Japanese beverage, usually from potatoes or wheat  (a decent one cheaper wont work) or Vodka substitutes.


I filled my jars with the sliced fruit added 100g of sugar and topped up with vodka (more sugar can be added later if desired)


generally liqeuers are left around 6 weeks to 3 months, this can be left up to a year. Depends on your fruit and your tastes. As mentioned -they’re quite hard. I intend to taste a little around Christmas and see how it is.

I have infused vodka this way with rosehips and also made blackberry liqeuer

My rosehip vodka is ready to strain -this has no sugar in it. It may stay that way. It’s really quite a lovely thing. Gents take note for Valentines day 😉

I hadn’t yet added the sugar with the quince here for the sake of the photo 🙂


Next up is the wild boozy tart


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crab apples and japanese quince. Ladybird for extra wildness

You can make your own pastry

A recipe for that is on this blog for the tourte de blettes -that will be lovely 🙂

or buy ready made 😉 shhh I wont say anything -as long as it’s palm oil free!


If you make your own, bake it first and allow to cool

I soaked around 3 0r 4 chopped Japonica fruits/Japanese quince/Karins in Marsala wine and cooked slowly to soften with some added brown sugar.

As winter develops the quince turn more yellow

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I added some brandy soaked cherries  (and had a swig of the brandy too -it is wild boozy tart afterall)

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I then quickly pan fried some pear slices and arranged into the base

Pan fried apples in butter with thyme in the base are also yummy (sugar the thyme for extra points) These were for crackers with cheese

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Arrange your fruit on top saving back the sauce from the quince and a bit of brandy from the cherries you can reduce to thicken or add gelatine

Pour over

et voila!

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Last on the roll call is the

 Pièce de résistance


or foul..

Not for the vegggies, though you can sustitute the partridge with a vegetarian equivelant or leave it out alltogether, and enjoy with homemade crusty bread.


Im not going to talk to you through preparing them as they came to me already done (phew!) and so I dont have nice photos to share.

They were soft enough to roast.If you have to buy some and they are quite firm its best to put them in a pot as a casserole.

A bit of bacon on top, some paarsnip crisps, japanese quinces (cooked as described above for the tart) made a sweet bozzy exotic sauce, that went well, and I added a bit of rowan jelly too 🙂

I haven’t had time to blog about that yet and the rowan berries here are nearly all gone now, one for the future with the crab apple jelly seen above too

I set them in a tray covered with butter, bacon and slices of pears and herbs

when I googled recipes with an idea of crispy sticky veg and some pears, it tuned out that Nigel Slater in this article here had similar inspiration! So I was guided by his experience (never having cooked partridge before) and inspired by his beautiful words!


around half an hour in a hot oven 200 Oc is all they need

I also had my parsnips drizzled with honey and some sweet potato chips smeared in marmalade and spices in the oven too

I have mentioned this seet potato invention of mine before in another post here about local sausages

The whole dish could easily be a fruit and vegetable taste sensation alone, and very simple!

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I made a little gravy as I went, similar to how Nigel describes in the link

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Perfect for dipping!


4 thoughts on “Japanese quince (chaenomeles) karinshu, wild boozy tart and game.

  1. It is interesting how small the karin that you have are. Many people walk by and ask what they are. They stayed on the tree over Christmas and were a beautiful natural decoration after the leaves dropped. Here on our tree 3 fruit weigh in at over 1Kg. I have made Karin-shu several times and it is great. This year we have a big crop of karin and are looking for new and different recipes. Today Jan 10th we picked them and are now working on making different recipes.


    • Thanks Stu! I dont think they are Karin. They’re from the ornamental chaenomele. They are just as edible but not as good as the usual quince. It usually grows more as a shrub. I have found it difficult to find out much about karin fruit. I think the main difference is that quince have a fur and karin dont? Those sound like whoppers! Well done! 😀 These are quite tart. I enjoyed it and will make it again, but it’s not for guzzling and not for everyone! If only I had real quince..


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