• Botanically a pome, closely related to the apple and pear.
  • Generally pear shaped and hard.
  • Yellow skin, tinged with green, covered with a fine down.
  • Golden yellow flesh is also hard and acid.

The quince is a deciduous tree that grows to a height of approximately 4m. The leaves are round to oval with a woolly undersurface. The pink and white flowers are followed by yellow fruit.

Though too acid and astringent to be eaten raw, the fruit has an aromatic flavour which gives a delicious taste to apples or pears cooked with it. Almost any apple and many pear recipes can be used for quinces, but because of its tartness it is usually used in combination with one of these lines. When cooked, the colour of the quince changes to a dull pink or dusky rose. Quince jam is an all time favourite.

The quince prefers a temperate climate and needs a soil which retains moisture well in order to produce fruit of good quality. Quinces are often planted in deep, rich acidic soils. The tree needs some winter chilling for good fruit production, but late frosts in spring can damage the flowers and so reduce the crop.

Large, solitary flowers are borne at the end of short shoots formed in spring. The flowers are practically self-fertile so only one variety need be grown. Fruit production is better if the trees are cross-pollinated, but a single tree will usually crop satisfactorily. Quinces can be propagated from hardwood cuttings taken in winter, but the plants usually have a strong suckering habit. Alternatively, selected varieties can be budded or grafted onto seedling quince root-stocks that do not sucker.

Quince trees are best planted in winter. Fruit is usually produced by the fifth year.

Quinces with their rather delicate skin are subject to wind damage because the fine large fruit hangs on the outside of the tree on weak branches.

The quince is believed to have originated in Asia. It was a symbol of love, happiness and fertility to the Greeks who used the large golden fruit in marriage ceremonies. It is botanically a pome and is closely related to the apple and pear.

Botanical Name: Cydonia oblonga (Rosaceae)

Health Benefits

Quinces are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, and potassium and are low in kilojoules.

100g of Quince yields the following:

  • Calories – 57
  • Total Carbs – 5% of DV
  • Protein – 0.4g
  • Dietary Fibre – 8% of DV
  • Vitamin A – 1% of DV
  • Vitamin C – 25% of DV
  • Calcium – 1% of DV
  • Iron – 4% of DV

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Selecting tips

Choose well shaped, plump, hard and evenly coloured yellow fruit with a slight green tinge. Green fruit should be ripened at room temperature. Although they seem to have a hard skin, quince bruises easily, and therefore should be handled carefully.

Storage: Ripen at room temperature and store in the refrigerator until required.

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