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Quince

 

Botanical name: Cydonia oblonga


Quitte

 

 

The quince stems from eastern Caucasia. Because the Romans discovered it in the ancient Cretan city of Cydonia (today Canea), they called it malum cidonium (apple from Cydonia), or malum cotoneum (cotton apple) due to the light white fluff on the ripe fruit.

 

The quince is cultivated today more or less intensively mainly in the entire Mediterranean area (Spain, Portugal, Italy), in North Africa and in the Balkans.

In Germany there is hardly any commercial cultivation, but in sunny protected locations, above all in the Rhineland and in Baden-Württemberg, good fruit quality may be achieved. Quinces are grown in Germany mostly by enthusiasts, and occasionally they are also found in hedges.

 

Availability

Quinces are available chiefly from September to November.

 

Appearance, taste, characteristics

The quince has the shape of an apple or a pear, with thick bulges, slight ribbing or deep grooves. Within there is a core with red-brown, coherent seeds. Quinces are differentiated into apple quince (round) and pear quince (oblong) according to the outer shape and the texture of the pulp.

Apple
* has a gristly-woody, hard, dry, more or less reddish pulp with numerous stone cells and is tart and very aromatic.

Pear
* has a softer pulp and fewer stone cells and a mildly aromatic flavour.

Size and weight differ according to the variety; as a rule quinces are the size of a large apple, but they may weigh up to 500 g.

 

The skin of the fruit is usually smooth, leathery and hard. It is green to golden yellow with brown spots or stripes, and when fully ripe bright lemon-yellow. Sometimes it is covered with a light white-grey pubescence, or fluff, which can be rubbed off or falls off by itself.

 

Ingredients

Quinces contain a great deal of fruit acid, tannic acid and essential oils. The very high content of pectin serves as an excellent natural gelling agent (for cooking jams and jellies) and is the reason for the very firm pulp.

 

100 g contain:

 

Quince, fresh

Quince, cooked

Energy (kcal)

39

39

Water (g)

85

85

Protein (g)

<1

<1

Fat (g)

1

1

Carbohydrates (g)

7

7

Fibre (g)

6

6

Vitamin C (mg)

13

72

Vitamin A (RE) (µg)

6

6

Folic acid (µg)

8

4

Potassium (mg)

200

200

Sodium (mg)

2

2

Calcium (mg)

10

10

Magnesium (mg)

8

8

Iron (mg)

0.6

0.6

Note: As this is a natural product, and as the information is taken from various sources and therefore from different analyses, there may be fluctuations in the nutritional facts. The minerals in particular may fluctuate, since the plant takes these from the soil, the composition of which itself can vary. Its mineral content is influenced, for instance, by fertilization. The footnote is explained here.

 

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Ripe fruits give off a pleasant, intensive lemony aroma. Unripe fruits have a green skin and no aroma. Ripe fruits can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week. Store them separately, as other foods will quickly take on the strong scent of quinces. Avoid bruising, which will cause the fruits to spoil more quickly.

 

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

For all practical purposes, quinces are not eaten raw in Germany, but in southern countries there are some varieties that are as soft as apples and can indeed be eaten raw. This is prevented by the tart-sour to bitter taste, the hard pulp and the many stone cells of our domestic varieties. They must first be cooked and pressed through a sieve before they can be further processed; the strong aroma develops during cooking or baking.

 

Quinces are well-suited for the following purposes:

* As compote
* To make jam, jelly, purée and paste
* To prepare juice, liqueur, wine, quince bread or cheese and other baked goods and sweets

 

Quince jelly in particular is very popular; it is not necessary to peel the quinces for this purpose, as the skin contains a great deal of pectin.

Quinces are also sold tinned (ripe fruits, peeled, without stem and core, cut into pieces or slices). Another alternative is dried quinces - chiefly from Australia.

 

Seasoning tip

Ginger, cardamom, cloves, vanilla, cinnamon and - for hearty dishes, nutmeg - go well with quinces.

 

 

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