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Did You Know?
Quince trees are 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.
Apples, pears and quince are members of the Rosaceae family. Quince trees produce a pome fruit just like the other members of this family. The fruit has a outer fleshy part that encloses seed chambers. Though this fruit might look very similar to a pear or an apple, it tastes quite different. Its scientific name is Cydonia oblonga. While its structure 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.

These trees also grow 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 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 flowers are white in color and measure about 2 inches in diameter.

Nutrition Facts

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 this fruit are numerous. It is believed to help in digestion and may help in inducing weight loss. It is also known to lower the cholesterol levels. In Iran and Afghanistan, its seeds are used for treating pneumonia.

Uses

Though in its raw form, this fruit 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, its pulp is used in jams, jellies and marmalades. Let me tell you an interesting fact about the connection between the term 'marmalade' and this 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 jam respectively.

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 this fruit. 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 this fruit, cover it with an aluminum foil and bake it for an hour at 300ºF. This fruit can also be stewed or poached.

Pulp Recipe

Ingredients
  • Quinces
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
Preparation
  • 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 pulp is ready, place it in the freezer and store it for future purposes.
Stewed Quince Recipe

Ingredients
  • Fresh quinces, 2
  • Brown sugar, ¼ lb
  • Drinking water, ¼ quart
Preparation
  • 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 fruit and cut it into halves.
  • Stew the fruit till it softens.
  • Serve it when it's still warm fruit and top it with fruit syrup.
Now that you have some idea about the culinary uses of quince, you can use it to add flavor to your meat dishes, puddings and jellies.