The Quince, the “golden apple”, or “love apple”, is a funny pear shaped greenish-yellow fruit that is related to the apple and the pear. The name quince comes from ancient Cydonia on the island of Crete.
The origin of the quince is in the Middle East, around Kashmir. Some say the quince is the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. An ancient Greek tradition says that a bride will give a quince to her husband. It is a symbol of fertility. The Greeks also believed it warded off bad luck. The Romans used it to make perfume. Sometimes, Venus de Milo was pictured with a quince.
The quince tree is 13 to 20 feet in height. The aroma of a quince is reminiscent of pineapple or guava. The fruit, however, does not ripen well on trees. The skin is green and turns yellowish when ripened. The fruit is covered with a fuzzy down, which can be easily rubbed off. The flesh is ecru colored, and very dry.
The quince is best cooked. Good methods include poaching, baking, braising, or stewing. It is suggested not to eat the quince raw. It has high tannin contents, which can make you sick and will also affect the taste buds momentarily after eating. The high tannin content makes it feel as if your mouth has been wiped dry with a paper towel. There is high pectin content in the quince. The Portuguese name for quince is marmelo, where we get the word marmalade. The flesh oxidizes very quickly.
When buying quinces, look for ones that are large, smooth, and fragrant. Quinces can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
The quince is high in potassium, vitamin c, and copper. It is an astringent, and an aperitif. The quince is good for the gastrointestinal system.