Quince

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 08. May. 2020
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If you've never heard of quince before, it's high time you checked out this nutrient-packed, versatile little fruit.

 

Quince...

  • ...protects the body's cells. Several secondary plant compounds found in quince help protect cells from disease-causing free radicals.
  • ...contains vitamin C. Quince isn’t a major source of vitamin C, however 100 grams contains an impressive 13 to 15 milligrams of the vitamin.
  • ...has an anti-bacterial effect. Quince’s flesh contains several tanning agents such as tannin, malic and tartaric acid, which can render pathogenic bacteria harmless.
  • ...soothes digestive problems. The pectin in quince can soothe an irritated bowel while aiding in digestion. In addition, pectin and other dietary fiber can bind existing harmful substances and fats so that the body can easily excrete them.
  • ...is high in copper. A 100 g serving contains 130 micrograms, about 10% of your average daily requirement.
  • ...can help alleviate sore throat pain. In folk medicine and naturopathy, sucking on quince seeds is considered an insider tip to help soothe an irritated throat.

What You Should Know About Quince

Quinces are the great-grandmothers of jam, particuarly in Portugal, where they have long been used to produce sweet spreads. 

What generally makes many people hesitate to buy quinces, however, is the fact that both the skin and flesh are extremely hard. Some varities can be eaten like an apple, however the majority of quinces are rock-hard, and need to be cooked before they can be consumed. 

Origin

Quinces originate from Central Asia, Iran, Southeast Arabia, Japan, some parts of North America and Crete, as well as Europe and North Africa. 

Season

The harvesting period for quinces is short: it starts at the beginning of September and ends as early as the end of October or the beginning of November.

Flavor

Quince has an intensive fruity, "lemony" aroma.

Varieties

Quinces come in many different varities, the most popular of which are the softer pear quince and the much harder apple quince. The color of the skin varies from light yellow to dark yellow depending on the variety.

Our Favorite Recipes with Quinces

Find all our quince recipes here.

How Healthy Are Quinces?

With their high content of pectins, tanning agents and fiber, quinces are especially good for the stomach and intestines.

Also the kernels are very hard and should therefore not be thrown away but dried. With the high amounts of mucilage they contain, they have a healing effect on sore throats and coughs - you simply suck them like a sweet. But beware: biting them is not a good idea, because the inside of the seeds tastes extremely bitter.

QUINCE NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 38
Protein 0.4 g
Fat 0.5 g
Carbohydrates 7.3 g
Fibre 6 g

 

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

Quinces aren't readily available in most standard supermarkets, so seek out a specialty or organic store to purchase. If you have a choice, make sure to buy pear quinces rather than apple quinces, because their flesh is softer. For jam and jelly, however, hard apple quinces are more suitable because they tend to have a stronger flavor.

Storage

Despite their hard skin, quinces are quite sensitive. If they bruise, they'll spoil very quickly. However, if stored correctly - in a cool, airy place and separated from apples, pears and vegetables - quinces can remain fresh for up to two months.

Preparation

Before preparation, make sure to clean well with a damp cloth, and remove the stem. Next you can wash the quinces and peel them with a peeler if necessary. Then you can cut off the flesh - similar to mangoes - with a heavy knife all around the core and dice or cut into strips, depending on the recipe. Softer pear quinces can also be halved or cut into quarters with a heavy knife.

There is a trick to get the delicious flesh of quinces off very easily: simply cook cleaned whole quinces in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Then leave them covered for a few hours or simply overnight to release the abundant pectin. Afterwards, the quinces will be much easier to peel and seed.

What To Make With Quinces

Quinces are especially delcious in a paste form, which is eaten throughout Europe. To do this, you simply have to pass the flesh through a sieve, then puree it with a hand blender. The quince paste can be frozen in ice cream containers, and used as a topping for fruit salads, sundaes and desserts or added to savory sauces.  Fresh quinces can be used as a topping for a delicious cake

Quinces can also be used in savory cuisine - in Arabic countries, for example, diced quinces are often cooked with lamb or poultry.

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