Quince is best described as a cross between apples and pears. However, this bright yellow fruit is healthier than them! Unlike apples and pears, raw quince tastes tart and sour. It is extremely popular and used in processed juices, jams, and spirits. This fall fruit is loaded with powerful antioxidants and is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber. Keep reading to learn why you should add quince to your diet, ways to eat it, side effects, and recipes.
In This Article
What Is Quince Fruit And Its History?
Quince (Cydonia oblonga) is a shrub or small tree belonging to the Asian genera and Rosaceae family. This yellow, pear-shaped hairy fruit has a typical flavor and aroma. Raw quince is tough, astringent, and sour.
This plant originated in Asia Minor and spread through the countries bordering the Himalayan mountains to the East and throughout Europe to the West. However, it is most likely that quince did not reach the Mediterranean region until the classical period when it was used by the Romans (1).
The ancient civilizations cultivated quince its medicinal benefits. Continue reading to discover what gives this fruit its medicinal powers.
Nutritional Information Of Quince Fruit
A hundred grams of raw quince contains (2):
Total lipids (Fat)
Compared to apples, quince contains nearly two times more vitamin C and more minerals (3).
Shena Jaramillo, RD, says, “Quince fruit is a great source of potassium and fiber. Potassium is an important electrolyte in the body, and fiber aids in digestion. It is also a great source of vitamin C, which helps with collagen formation and supports the immune system.” Read on to learn more about the health benefits of quince.
7 Potential Health Benefits of Quince Fruit
1. A Good Source Of Antioxidants
Quince pulp, seeds, and peel are rich in antioxidant phenolic compounds because of their rich vitamin C (ascorbic acid) content (4). The phenolic compounds are crucial for minimizing oxidative stress and inflammation, the main causes of numerous health issues. Moreover, antioxidants also strengthen the immune system to protect the body against harmful pathogens.
2. May Protect Against Stomach Ulcers
A rat study found that the phenolic compounds in Chinese quince extracts could suppress gastric ulcers and keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy (5). The antioxidants can minimize inflammation and oxidative stress that might damage the mucous membrane in the stomach (gastric mucosa).
3. Antimicrobial Effects
The phenolic compounds in quince extract (pulp ad peel) have antimicrobial properties. They can disrupt bacterial cell membranes and interfere with their metabolism and eliminate them (6).
4. May Help With Pregnancy-Induced Nausea
A trial on pregnant women with mild to moderate nausea and vomiting (NVP) found that quince syrup could significantly reduce the symptoms. Quince is a safe fruit for pregnant women and maybe a better alternative therapy for improving nausea and vomiting (7).
5. May Have Anti-Allergic Effects
A mice study found that quince extract could relieve the symptoms of type I allergy (immediate reaction). It suppressed antibody production to inhibit the atopic dermatitis-like allergic responses (8).
6. May Help With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Research showed that quince fruit extract is as effective as ranitidine in relieving the symptoms of pregnancy-related GERD. Quince is traditionally used as a gastric tonic to boost gut health and reduce nausea, vomiting, and other gut-related issues (9).
7. May Prevent Cancer
A study observed that the phenolic compounds in quince fruit and leaf extracts inhibited the proliferation of colon and renal cancer cells. Researchers concluded that quince extracts might be useful in the prevention and treatment of cancer (10). However, more studies are required to prove the efficacy of quince extract as a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agent.
There are many ways to include quince in your diet. However, if you are new to this fruit, your tastebuds may take time to adapt to its rich, unassuming, and exciting flavor and texture. Take hints from the following sections to enjoy this delectable fruit.
How To Eat Quince Fruit
Quince can be eaten raw and cooked, with or without the skin. However, not everyone may prefer raw quince as it has a sour and astringent taste. Cooked quince has a sweet and floral flavor.
The best way to preserve (and consume) quince is by preparing marmalades, jams, and jellies. You may substitute quince for apples and pears in different recipes like crumbles, cakes, pies, and other desserts. You may also prepare quince vinegar (just like homemade apple cider vinegar) and enjoy this seasonal produce throughout the year. Here are a few popular recipes you may try.
Popular Recipes Using Quince Fruit
1. Quince Jelly
This lovely rose-colored quince jelly is abundant in natural pectins and healthy nutrients.
What You Need
- 1.5 kg of quince, diced
- 7 cups of water
- 7 cups of sugar
How To Prepare
- Boil the diced quince in water. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the quince pieces are tender.
- Mash the cooked quince until smooth. Add more water if required.
- Strain the mashed quince pulp with cheesecloth and strainer. Collect the pulp.
- Boil the strained quince pulp in a pot with a thick bottom.
- For every cup of juice, add less than a cup of sugar.
- Stir until the sugar dissolves. Measure the temperature with a thermometer.
- Scoop out the foam from the jelly while cooking.
- The jelly will thicken once the temperature rises above 100°C (water’s boiling point). Once the temperature reaches 106°-108°C, the jelly is ready.
- Store the jelly in sterilized glass jars.
2. Quince Pie
The classic apple pie has a delectable autumn flavor. Skip the pie crust and top your pie with sliced quinces and granny apples for a crunchy taste.
What You Need
- 3 cups of peeled quinces, thinly sliced
- 1 can of apple juice, unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon of cloves
- 9-inch pie pastry
- 5 cups of apples, thinly sliced
- ½ cup of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
How To Prepare
- Preheat the oven at 375°F.
- Combine the quinces and apple juice in a big pot.
- Make a spice bag with the cloves (put them on a cheesecloth and tie). Toss it into the pan.
- Boil the mixture. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the quinces are crisp-tender.
- Uncover and cook for another 8-12 minutes, or until the liquid has been reduced to 2 tablespoons.
- Discard the spice bag and let it cool down for 5 minutes.
- Line the pie pan with pastry. Trim to half-inch beyond the plate’s edge and flute the edges.
- Combine the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and quince mixture. Pour the mixture into the crust.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes.
3. Quince Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Add a little zest to the classic roasted Brussels sprouts with a sweet and fruity sauce spiced with a hint of fire from crushed red pepper flakes.
What You Need
- 900 g of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1/3 cup of quince paste
- 1/3 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of paprika
- 4 tablespoons of basil, finely chopped
- ¾ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper, freshly ground
How To Prepare
- Preheat a baking sheet in the oven at 400°F for 5 minutes.
- Toss the Brussels sprouts with oil, salt, and pepper and roast them for 20-25 minutes. Flip them once halfway through.
- Mix and simmer quince paste, water, sugar, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan for five minutes.
- Add paprika, salt, and pepper (as per taste) and remove from heat.
- Toss the roasted Brussels sprouts and quince glaze.
- Garnish with lemon zest and basil.
Since quince is available during the fall, you may want to store it for later use. Here are a few tips.
How To Store Quince Fruit
Nadia Charif, RD, says, “Usually sold unripe in the US, it’ll take a few days on the countertop to ripen your quince. You’ll know it’s unripe if the fruit is more green than yellow, hard (rather than giving to the touch) & has little to no fruity fragrance. Like other fruits, to speed the process, store in a paper bag on the countertop.”
She adds, “Once cut, your quince will oxidize, so wrap tightly with plastic wrap or cover the cut portion of fruit thoroughly with lemon juice (albeit, this will make your quince more tart). Quince tends to absorb the odor of other foods, so it’s important to store away from strong smells whether on the countertop or in the refrigerator.”
According to Jaramillo, quince fruit can be stored for up to two weeks at cool temperatures.
Quince is a healthy and nutritious addition to your diet. However, it has several side effects.
Possible Side Effects Of Quince Fruit
Dr. Kire Stojkovski, MD, shares, “When consumed in large quantities, quince causes negative effects on the stomach (elicits the stomach to produce volatile gases). When exposed to the skin, the fruit causes irritations to the skin. It also causes inflammation (swellings). The fruit is also responsible for causing diarrhea and problems in digestion.”
The Final Word
Quince has been a part of ancient traditional medicine and is preferred by different ethnic groups for medicinal benefits. This nutrient-dense fruit is a rich source of antioxidants and helps minimize inflammation and oxidative stress. You can eat it raw or cooked. However, consume it in moderation as excessive quince intake may upset the stomach.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is quince good for diabetes?
Yes. Animal studies showed that quince lowered blood sugar levels in diabetic rats (11).
Does quince help with weight loss?
Yes. Quince is low in calories and high in dietary fiber and other nutrients. Dietary fiber promotes satiety, which may help you in portion control.
Do you have to peel quince before cooking?
Not necessarily. Quince peel is edible and contains antioxidants.
Why does quince turn red?
Cooked quince release a red pigment called anthocyanin (released from the tannins in the fruit). As a result, quince fruit with high tannin content turns dark rose, while those with low tannin content may remain creamy white or turn light pink.
How long does quince paste last?
Quince can be refrigerated for up to three months or longer under plastic wrap.
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- A Review on Quince (Cydonia oblonga): A Useful Medicinal Plant
- FoodData Central
- A review of nutritional value and putative health-effects of quince (Cydonia oblonga Mill.) fruit
- Quince (Cydonia oblonga Miller) Fruit (Pulp Peel and Seed) and Jam: Antioxidant Activity
- Antioxidant and Antiulcerative Properties of Phenolics from Chinese Quince Quince and Apple Fruits
- Antimicrobial Activity of Tunisian Quince (Cydonia oblonga Miller) Pulp and Peel Polyphenolic Extracts
- Comparison of quince with vitamin B6 for treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: a randomised clinical trial
- Anti-Allergic Effect of a Hot-Water Extract of Quince (Cydonia oblonga)
- A comparative study of ranitidine and quince (Cydonia oblonga mill) sauce on gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in pregnancy: a randomised open-label active-controlled clinical trial
- First Report on Cydonia oblonga Miller Anticancer Potential: Differential Antiproliferative Effect against Human Kidney and Colon Cancer Cells
- Hypolipidemic Hepatoprotective and Renoprotective Effects of Cydonia Oblonga Mill. Fruit in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats