HAVE YOU HEARD OF QUINCE FRUIT?

Fragrant rich quince fruit is a member of Rosaceae family of pome-fruits. Native to Asia Minor, it is a popular delicacy. Quince is rarely eaten raw but used in cooking where just a small wedge it imparts the whole recipe with a pleasant fruity aroma.

Quince is the only fruiting tree in the genus: Cydonia. Scientific name: Cydonia oblonga.

quince fruit

Quinces are medium sized semi-tropical deciduous trees, growing to about 10 to 15 feet in height. Pink-white flowers appear in the spring and early summer, which develop into golden color pear-shaped fruits. The fruit is larger than average apple and bumpy; appear somewhat like large guava, avocado, or as short-necked pear fruit. Its fuzzy surface is smooth as in peaches.

The quince fruit weighs on average about 4 to 5 ounces (500g) yet some varieties weigh more. Inside, its flesh is light yellow, gritty and has multiple poisonous seeds concentrated at the center as in apples. Raw quince has intense fruity smell and together with its bright yellow color instantly attracts the fruit lover’s attention. However, raw fruits, even after they ripen, are generally astringent and tart.

 

Health benefits of quince

  • Quince is low calorie fruit. 100 g fresh raw fruit provides 57 calories. In addition, it composes several more vital poly-phenolic antioxidants than apples and pears. The fruit is the storehouse for phyto-nutrients such as dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Quince pulp along with its peel contains good amounts of fiber. Further, its gritty granules in the pulp are composed of astringent compounds known as tannins namely, catechin and epicatechin. They bind to cancer-causing toxins and chemicals in the colon, protecting its mucous membrane from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cancers, and diverticulitis. In addition, it helps reduce body weight and blood LDL cholesterol levels.
  • It has several phenolic compounds such as caffeoylquinic acid, procyanidin-B2, oligomeric procyanidin, polymeric procyanidin etc., and essential oils like furfural, limonene, linalol, vomifoliol, toluene, β-ionone, α-terpineol, etc. Together; these compounds give quince its unique fragrance.
  • Ripe quince fruit has good concentration of vitamin C. 100 g fruit provides 15 mg or 25% of RDA of vitamin-C. Fruits rich in this vitamin help remove harmful oxygen-free radicals from the body. Vitamin C helps boost immunity, reduce viral episodes and inflammatory conditions.
  • The fruit is a good source of minerals such as copper (130 µg or 14% of RDA), iron, potassium, and magnesium as well as B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6).
  • Although not well documented, quince fruit, like pears, has anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties. The fruit as well its seed’s extraction is suggested in the treatment of cystitis, atopic dermatitis, recommended by health practitioners as a safe alternative in the preparation of food products for allergy sufferers.

Nutrient Analysis

 
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 57 Kcal 3%
Carbohydrates 13.81 g 11%
Protein 0.40 g <1%
Total Fat 0.10 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g 4%
Vitamins
Folates 3 µg 1%
Niacin 0.200 mg 1%
Pantothenic acid 0.081 mg 1.5%
Pyridoxine 0.040 mg 3%
Riboflavin 0.030 mg 2%
Thiamin 0.020 mg 2%
Vitamin A 40 IU 1%
Vitamin C 15 mg 25%
Vitamin E 0.12 mg 1%
Vitamin K 4.5 µg 4%
Electrolytes
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 119 mg 2.5%
Minerals
Calcium 11 mg 1%
Copper 0.130 mg 14%
Iron 0.70 mg 9%
Magnesium 8 mg 2%
Phosphorus 11 mg 2%
Selenium 0.6 µg 1%
Zinc 0.04 mg <1%

Selection and Storage

Quince fruit season begins by September. Fresh fruits generally arrive in the USA markets from the Middle East, Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia.

quinces
Quinces in a basket.
Photo courtesy: jespahjoy

In the markets, choose well-developed, firm, bright golden-yellow color fruits. Avoid green, immature, as they are bitter and inedible. Furthermore, avoid bruised, shriveled ones as they are out of flavor.

Once at home, Quinces stay well for up to a week when kept open in cool, dark place away from heat, and humidity. They store for several weeks placed in the refrigerator.

 

Preparation and Serving tips

Raw quince is extremely sour and astringent as it has rarely eaten uncooked. Its bitter taste and choking feeling in the mouth is due to certain chemicals in the fruit known as tannins. Cooking destroys these compounds while retaining fragrant rich essential oils and aliphatic compounds in the fruit. With the addition of sugar or honey, the fruit makes excellent flavorful sweet and savory recipes, jams, jellies, and preserves.

To prepare, just wash the fruit in cold water. Cut the fruit in quarters as you do in apples and pears. Remove central core, and seeds using paring knife. Cut In small chunks or wedges and add in the cooking.

Here are some serving tips:

quince fruit jam- membrilo
Quince jam-membrilo.
Photo courtesy: charkrem

 

  • Quince fruit makes wonderful addition in the confectionery. Some of the traditional sweet delicacies like pies, tarts, cakes, jams (membrilo), marmalade, jellies, etc., uses this fruit to acquire special flavor.
  • The fruit pulp can also be employed in stews, as a addition to seafood, poultry, and lamb preparations as a flavoring base.

 

Safety profile

Quince fruit seeds are poisonous and should not be eaten. Raw fruit may cause irritation in the throat and may cause breathing difficulty.

FUN RELATED SITE: http://www.historicfood.com/Quinces%20Recipe.htm

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