Chaenomeles was introduced into culture in ancient times by the peoples of East Asia. It was grown for the fruits used in medicine, for the aromatization of dwellings, as well as for decorative purposes. The botanical classification of chaenomeles was carried out at the end of the 18th century, and soon it was introduced to Europe. The "golden age" of chaenomeles began in the middle of the 19th century. Its beauty conquered the whole world. Japanese artists and English poets, inspired by beautiful images, created their works. When describing a new plant, researchers often forgot the strict and dry language of science and moved on to a sublime style. So, when reading the description given by the famous gardener Van Gutt, one is imbued with the author's enthusiastic attitude to the magnificent object. British gardeners used the entire set of excellent epithets in the English language to describe their pet.
Chaenomeles was ranked among the twelve best shrubs. European, American and Japanese breeders have created many decorative varieties that differ in color, size, and the degree of doubleness of flowers. About a hundred of them are widely cultivated today all over the world.
The fruits of chaenomeles have long been used in food by the inhabitants of East Asia, and then Europe and North America, noting the pleasant taste and wonderful aroma of processed products. However, nowhere did it become one of the most important fruit crops. A number of small industrial plantations were founded in the 30-60s of the last century in the USSR in Ukraine, but this culture was not widely spread there. First of all, this was due to the lack of valuable selective forms and the weak development of the fruit-processing industry. The experience of Latvia was more successful, where in the 70-80s of the last century rather large production plantations were created, and the industry mastered the production of many types of food products.
Now in the countries of Eastern and Northern Europe, interest in chaenomeles has increased as a promising fruit crop that meets the requirements of modern intensive and environmentally friendly farming. Among amateur gardeners of the former Soviet Union, the cultivation of chaenomeles as a new fruit and ornamental crop especially began to spread after the Great Patriotic War. In the early 50s of the last century, this plant was already widely grown by a significant number of amateur gardeners in the central zone of the European part of Russia. I made the first attempts to grow chaenomeles in my garden in Sverdlovsk in 1955.
Nutritional and medicinal properties of fruits
In terms of the biochemical composition of the fruits, chaenomeles stands out among other pome crops, approaching lemons in terms of the main indicators. The characteristic features of the fruits are: low sugar content (2-4%), with the bulk of sugars represented by glucose and fructose, high content of organic acids (4-6%), pectin substances (1-3%), vitamins C and P (50 -200 and 800-1200 mg%). Carotene, thiamine, nicotinic acid, pyridoxine and other vitamins are also found in the pulp of the fruit. The seeds contain tocopherol, unsaturated fatty acids and a number of other biologically active compounds. All these substances are important components of a balanced diet, and their presence increases the value of chaenomeles fruits. In addition to the multivitamin complex, the importance of pectins and fiber should be emphasized, which contribute to the excretion of toxins, radionuclides, heavy metals, cholesterol from the body. The high content of ascorbic acid and bioflavonoids, enhancing each other's action, makes it possible to recommend the chaenomeles fruits for use as food for preventive and therapeutic purposes in infectious diseases, diseases of the digestive system, respiration, cardiovascular and other diseases.
Chaenomeles fruits are not consumed fresh because of the hard, strongly acidic pulp, used for various types of processing. The most popular types of products obtained are: extract, syrup, jam, jam, marmalade, candied fruits, prepared from fresh ripe fruits that have acquired a characteristic yellow color and a pleasant aroma.
To obtain an extract washed fruits are cut in half, lengthwise or crosswise, seeds and core are removed, cut into slices and pieces. Sliced fruits are sprinkled with sugar (1-1.3 kg of sugar is taken per 1 kg of fruit), left in a cool place for one or two days. The resulting extract is poured, poured into dishes and stored in a cold place, using as needed, or preserved for long-term storage. They are used for preparing various drinks, sweet dishes.
Other types of processing are carried out according to the recommendations common to all types of fruit raw materials, described in detail in popular literature. Excess acidity in some types of processing, such as pure chanomeles marmalade, can be removed by neutralizing the excess with baking soda. You can also recommend preparing a semi-finished product in the form of natural juice, sugar extract, mashed potatoes, dried and frozen fruits, which can be stored for a long time and used to prepare various dishes. And fresh chaenomeles fruits at a low positive temperature (1-2 ° C) and high humidity can be stored for a very long time until the new harvest and used for consumption as needed. Such conditions can be created by storing fruits in tightly tied plastic bags in the basement, cold cabinet, refrigerator. So, in my experience, the chaenomeles fruits in a tied plastic bag in a cold cabinet were well preserved until June of the next year.
Chaenomeles fruits can also be used to replace lemons in tea, culinary recipes, for blending with low-acid fruit raw materials (chokeberry, fresh sweet apples and pears, etc.) and vegetable raw materials (pumpkin, carrots, etc.) ...