I recently came across quince fruit and I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it before!
So, I was curious about the taste of it, plus whether it offered any sort of nutritional benefits too. Here’s what I found:
Quince is typically reserved for marmalades, jams, and jellies.
But, can also be used in pies as well.
However, it’s fairly well accepted that quinces aren’t as flavorful as an apple or pear.
Quinces are grown in South East Asia where they are a bit sweeter than European varieties.
Quinces are also said to be more widely grown in Eastern Europe rather than in Western Europe.
And in the USA quinces are thought to have been more popular until around the 1900s when sweeter fruit became more widely available.
In this article, I will cover the ins and outs of quinces, with info about how long quinces keep, how to know when they’re ripe, whether you can eat the seeds, and whether quinces have any side effects.
How Long Does Quince Keep?
Quinces are very hard to even when it’s ripe, and I was wondering how long they will keep.
If you want to keep quince in the freezer for the long term, say for 6 months to a year or more then it’s best to vacuum seal it.
You should also wet down the outside of the quince regardless of whether you’re freezing it for a long time or not.
Doing so will protect the surface of the fruit from freezer burn.
I wrote about this in an article about whether you can freeze fresh fruit.
Read it here: can you freeze fresh fruit
How Do You Know When a Quince Is Ripe?
Quinces remain hard even when they are ripe, and they also look very ripe even when they aren’t.
So, how do you tell when quince is ripe?
Unlike fruits such as pears and peaches, quinces don’t get soft once they’re ripe.
So, the easiest way to tell is by the time of year, and by looking at the color.
In South East Asia unripe quinces have a slightly pleasant taste.
But, unripe quinces found in Europe and the USA tend to be too tart, sour, and bland to eat.
Can You Eat Quince Seeds?
You may have heard the myth that if you eat a seed it will turn into a plant in your stomach.
Other seeds such as pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are quite delicious, however, quince seeds like apple and pear seeds tend to be bitter and unpleasant to eat.
As a whole, they aren’t overall harmful in small amounts. For example, if you accidentally eat a few while eating a quince fruit.
Quince Side Effects
Quince isn’t really a fruit that you hear much of, therefore, I was a bit cautious to eat it without knowing whether it has any side effects.
Based on the advice of medical doctors, here’s what I found about the potential side effects of eating quince.
Therefore, you can eat quince as much as you like. However, in my opinion, apples and pears taste better than quinces.
And if I had to choose between quince and an apple or pear I would eat an apple or a pear every time.
But, I’m sure there are some incredibly sweet varieties of quinces out there, where the seeds of the best trees have been kept.
By and large, though, varieties found in Europe and the USA are rather bland and hardly worth growing.
If you have an established tree, however, it can be good to keep around to vary your diet.
Certain folks have reported that adding a small number of quinces to an apple pie can add an interesting flavor.
For example, they recommend using about 20% to 30% quinces to 70% to 80% apples in a hot pie.
Of course, you would have to add other spices such as cinnamon, five-spice, and even sometimes nutmeg.
I did some in-depth research into nutmeg, where it comes from, and how it’s used.
And it’s very interesting.
You can read the article I wrote breaking down whether you can eat the nutmeg fruit, and other info about nutmeg: can nutmeg fruit be eaten.
Why is some quince red?
I’ve seen some quince jams for sale at my local farmers market as I was in a bit of a rush to pick up some other fruits and vegetables.
But, I noticed it was red in color and wanted to know why that is. I looked at various recipes for quince jam and jelly and here’s why…
A popular recipe for cooked quince is roasting peeled quince in the oven and glazing them with honey and adding some aromatic herbs.
You can add half a roasted quince to a bowl with some vanilla ice cream. Or, some whipped cream as a warming and delicious dessert.
What is quince jelly used for?
Jellies, marmalades, and jams are a great way to preserve fruits and are a welcome topping on many different foods.
So, I thought I covered some of the common uses for quince jelly.
Quince jelly tends to be made with quite a bit of sugar though, so you should eat it in moderation.
The boiling process breaks down a lot of the naturally occurring nutrients in the quince.
And so it lacks a lot of original nutrients because it’s boiled for so long.
Can I freeze raw quince?
When preserving certain fruits like pears you can boil them first and you can also freeze them raw.
But, can you do the same thing with quince?
Freezing raw quince is a great way to store it to be used later in a fruit pie or boiled down into a jam/jelly.
Another key concern when freezing raw quince is freezer burn.
Freezer burn occurs when ice crystals form on the surface of the food as it’s freezing.
When that happens the icicles draw out the liquid from the surface of the fruit and leaves it looking faded and removes all of its flavor.
Wetting down the surface of the quince using some water and your fingers or a fine mister will create a barrier between the ice that will form and the surface of the fruit.
Therefore, you greatly lessen the chance of getting frost burn.
When exposed to the air inside the freezer food can also absorb the flavors of the other food.
Therefore, it’s best to keep it sealed air tight.
Quince can be fairly expensive at the fruit and veg store depending on what region you’re in, therefore, it can make sense to plant a few quince trees.
Quinces are remarkably hardy and can grow in US zones 5 through 9.
It’s recommended to plant 2 trees for pollination, and they will grow best in a temperate climate with full sun, and free draining soil.
However, they are known to do fine in dry and wet soils.