Apples, pears and quince are members of the Rosaceae family. The quince tree produces a pome fruit just like the other members of this family. The fruit has a outer fleshy part that encloses seed chambers. Though a quince fruit might look very similar to a pear or an apple, it tastes quite different. The scientific name of quince is Cydonia oblonga. While the structure of quince is quite similar to apples, the presence of a larger number of stone cells in its outer skin imparts a gritty or a coarse texture to it. Quince fruit tree is believed to be one of the earliest known trees that have been growing in the Asian and Mediterranean region of the world for more than 4,000 years.
It is also grown in the United States of America, Latin America and the Middle East. However, the taste of the varieties grown in the tropical regions is slightly different from the varieties that are grown in the United States of America. While the varieties from the tropical regions are edible in their raw form, those found in the colder climates cannot be had raw because of their hard rind. The shape of the quince leaves could be oblong or broad at the base and narrow at the tip. The leaves measure about 2 inches in width and 4 inches in length. The quince flowers are white in color and measure about 2 inches in diameter.
As far as quince fruit nutrition is concerned, a serving of 100 grams of this fruit will provide 11 grams of carbohydrates, 7.5 grams of fiber and 200 kilojoules of energy. In case of a stewed quince with sugar, a serving of 100 grams will provide you nutrients in the form of 21 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber and 350 kilojoules of energy. The health benefits of quince are numerous. Consumption of quince is supposed to help in digestion and may help in inducing weight loss. Quince is also known to lower the cholesterol levels. In Iran and Afghanistan, its seeds are used for treating pneumonia.
Quince Fruit Uses
Though in its raw form, quince may taste sour and one might find it inedible, if it is cooked it gives out a wonderful aroma and also tastes delicious. Since it is high in pectin, it is extremely useful for the purpose of canning. As far as its culinary uses are concerned, quince pulp is used in jams, jellies and marmalades. Let me tell you an interesting fact about the connection between the term ‘marmalade’ and the quince fruit. You can trace back the origins of the term marmalade from the Portuguese word marmelo. Portuguese use the word marmelo and marmalade for the quince fruit and quince jam respectively.
Quince Fruit Recipes
The pulp, juice or slices of this fruit are used for flavoring certain meat dishes, pies, jam, sauces and cakes. If you love to make jellies, you can get a flavor of pear and apple by using quince. You could even use it as a substitute for apples or pears in certain recipes. You can also put honey, lime juice and a little water over slices of quince, cover it with an aluminum foil and bake it for an hour at 300ºF. Quinces can also be stewed or poached.
- Lemon juice
- Peel the fruit and cut it into small chunks.
- Make sure that you place these chunks in a container filled with water. Make sure that it is not kept out in the open otherwise it will get oxidized and turn brown.
- Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Put it on a low flame and cook for 2-3 hours until the fruit softens. Once it is cooked, it will turn pink.
- Let it cool and strain it. Now that the quince pulp is ready, place it in the freezer and store it for future purposes.
Stewed Quince Recipe
- Fresh quinces, 2
- Brown sugar, ¼ lb
- Drinking water, ¼ quart
- Take a saucepan and pour water in it. Add brown sugar and bring it to a boil.
- Boil for 10-15 minutes and make sure the sugar dissolves completely.
- Peel the quinces and cut it into halves.
- Stew the quince fruit till it softens.
- Serve the warm quince fruit and top it with fruit syrup.
This was some information about the quince fruit. Now that you have some idea about the culinary uses of quince, you can use this fruit to add flavor to your meat dishes, puddings and jellies.