Quince (Cydonia oblonga)

General info about Fruit

The Quince (Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia and native to warm-temperate southwest Asia in the Caucasus region. It is a small deciduous tree, growing 5-8 m tall and 4-6 m wide, related to apples and pears, and like them has a pome fruit, which is bright golden yellow when mature, pear-shaped, 7-12 cm long and 6-9 cm broad.
Quince is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail, Bucculatrix bechsteinella, Bucculatrix pomifoliella, Coleophora cerasivorella, Coleophora malivorella, Green Pug and Winter Moth.

How to choose a ripe and fresh Fruit

The immature fruit is green, with dense grey-white pubescence which mostly (but not all) rubs off before maturity in late autumn when the fruit changes colour to yellow with hard flesh that is strongly perfumed. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, 6-11 cm long, with an entire margin and densely pubescent with fine white hairs. The flowers, produced in spring after the leaves, are white or pink, 5 cm across, with five petals.

Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit

Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit.
Edible Uses: Drink; Pectin.
Fruit - raw or cooked. When grown in warm temperate or tropical climates, the fruit can become soft and juicy and is suitable for eating raw. In cooler climates such as Britain, however, it remains hard and astringent and needs to be cooked before being eaten. It is used in jellies, preserves etc. The cooked fruit adds a delicious flavour to cooked apples. Strongly aromatic with a firm but rather gritty flesh. The fruit is rich in pectin. The fruit is about 10m long and 9cm wide, tapering to the stalk. A nutritional analysis is available. A drink can be made by adding the dried crushed seed to water, simmering for 5 minutes and sweetening to taste. Flowers. No further details are given.

Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit

Medicinal Uses
Antiinflammatory; Antivinous; Astringent; Cardiac; Carminative; Demulcent; Digestive; Diuretic; Emollient; Expectorant; Hypotensive; Laxative; Pectoral; Refrigerant; Restorative; Stimulant; Tonic.
The stem bark is astringent, it is used in the treatment of ulcers. The seed is a mild but reliable laxative, astringent and anti-inflammatory. When soaked in water, the seed swells up to form a mucilaginous mass. This has a soothing and demulcent action when taken internally and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, especially in children. This mucilage is also applied externally to minor burns etc. The fruit is antivinous, astringent, cardiac, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, peptic, refrigerant, restorative, stimulant and tonic. The unripe fruit is very astringent, a syrup made from it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and is particularly safe for children. The fruit, and its juice, can be used as a mouthwash or gargle to treat mouth ulcers, gum problems and sore throats. The leaves contain tannin and pectin. Tannin can be used as an astringent whilst pectin has a beneficial effect on the circulatory system and helps to reduce blood pressure.
Other Uses
Gum; Pectin; Rootstock; Size.
A mucilage obtained from the seed coat is used as a gum arabic substitute to add gloss to material. The seed contains 20% mucilage and 15% fatty oils. The fruit is rich in pectin. Pectin is said to protect the body against radiation. The leaves contain 11% tannin.


Four other species previously included in the genus Cydonia are now treated in separate genera. These are the Chinese Quince Pseudocydonia sinensis, a native of China, and the three flowering quinces of eastern Asia in the genus Chaenomeles. Another unrelated fruit, the Bael, is sometimes called the “Bengal Quince”.

Recipes made mainly with this Fruit

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Fruit (Dry weight)
355 Calories per 100g
Water: 0%
Protein: 2.7g; Fat: 1.2g; Carbohydrate: 94g; Fibre: 14g; Ash: 2.5g;
Minerals - Calcium: 55mg; Phosphorus: 95mg; Iron: 4.3mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 25mg; Potassium: 1216mg; Zinc: 0mg;
Vitamins - A: 130mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.15mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.18mg; Niacin: 1.8mg; B6: 0mg; C: 95mg;

Most varieties of quince are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw unless ‘bletted’ (softened by frost). They are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed. The fruit turns to reddish orange color once it has cooked. The seeds are poisonous and should not be consumed. The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavour. Adding a diced quince to applesauce will enhance the taste of the applesauce with the chunks of firmer tarter quince. The term “marmalade”, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from the Portuguese word for this fruit marmelo (Wilson 1999). The fruit, like so many others, can be used to make a type of wine.
In Spain, the quince or “membrillo” as it is called, is cooked into a firm reddish paste and is eaten with manchego cheese. The sweet and floral notes of the quince paste contrast nicely with the tanginess of the cheese. Quince juice from organic farming is available in Germany and its pleasant taste mixes well with other fruit juices. This is where the saying “A quince for you, a quince for me, quinces we shall eat,” comes from. In Lebanon, it is called “Sfarjel” and also used to make jam.
Elsewhere in Europe, quinces are commonly grown in central and southern areas where the summers are sufficiently hot for the fruit to fully ripen. They are not grown in large amounts; typically one or two quince trees are grown in a mixed orchard with several apples and other fruit trees. Charlemagne directed that quinces be planted in well-stocked orchards. Quinces are mentioned for the first time in an English text in the later 13th century, though cultivation in England is not very successful due to inadequate summer heat to ripen the fruit fully. They were also introduced to the New World, but have become rare in North America due to their susceptibility to fireblight disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. They are still widely grown in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Almost all of the quinces in North American specialty markets come from Argentina. A variety of quince, which is grown in the Middle East, does not require cooking and is often eaten raw.
In Malta, a jam is made from the fruit (gamm ta’ l-isfargel). According to local tradition, a tea-spoon of the jam dissolved in a cup of boiling water relieves intestinal discomfort.
The quince, used as a rootstock for grafted plants, has the property of stunting the growth of pears, of forcing them to produce relatively more fruit-bearing branches, instead of vegetative growth, and of accelerating the maturity of the fruit.
In parts of Afghanistan, the quince seeds are collected and boiled and then ingested to combat pneumonia.
In Chile the quince or “membrillo” as it is called, is cooked into a firm reddish paste and eaten in sandwiches. Boiled quince is also popular in desserts such as the Murta con membrillo that combines Ugni molinae with quince.

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