Growing Quince Fruit (Cydonia oblonga)

Quince fruits ripe and ready to be picked
Quince fruits ripe and ready to be picked | Source

What is Quince?

Quince or the Cydonia vulgaris / C. oblonga is from the Rosaceae family. The Quince fruit has been around for centuries.

Native to Persia and surrounding areas, the Quince was highly regarded by the Roman Empire.

Thought to have been the fruit of Aphrodite the Goddes of love, the fruit was often given as an offering to new brides.

The most common Quince trees are relatively small busy trees with a maximum height of around 20 feet. Certain Japanes varieties of Quince trees are used as ornamental bonsai trees.

The white and pink flowers are quite pretty and can sometimes present themselves as candy striped. The Quince fruit is a hard pear-shaped fruit that turns yellow when ripened.

What does Quince look like?

Quince fruit are considered a medium size fruit, comparable more to a large apple or pear. It has a slightly fuzzy smooth surface, similar to the fuzz on peaches.

Quince fruit has a yellow/green exterior color and a lighter yellow flesh. The flesh of the fruit is kind of gritty like a pear, but it has multiple seeds in the center like an apple.

Common Types of Quince

There are several different types of Quince. Here are a couple of the more popular varieties available in the U.S.

Champion - The Champion Quince is a very hardy and reliable. It does well in colder climates.

Orange - The Orange Quince tree produces some of the largest size Quince fruits; up to 1 lb.

Portugal - The Portugal Quince tree is one of the taller trees 10-14 feet and produces large quantities of the fruit.

Smyrna - The Smyrna variety is popular because its colorful flowers and fruit. It has a medium size fruit.

Companion Planting

Like most fruit trees, Quince does well with plantings of chives, garlic, sage and other savory herbs planted around the base of the tree.

How to Grow Quince

Quince can be grown well in USDA zones 5-10. The Quince tree has shorter roots and thus fair well in most soil types. They enjoy a moist soil and are often planted beside fresh water. Quince trees are also self fertile.

Quince are also resistant to frosts, but still require colder temperatures in order to flower properly. The fruit itself is not typically edible unless cooked. However, if grown in a warmer climate, the fruit can be left on the tree to soften and will eventually become edible raw.

Quince can be grown from seeds, though you will probably have more success starting with an already formed tree. The Quince tree has hard wood that is very gnarly, thus making it hard to train into a specific shape. They do better when grown as bushes, but can be grown as trees with disciplined pruning.

How to Harvest and Store Quince

Unless you live in a warmer climate (zones 8-10), it is best to pick the fruit in the fall and use in marmaldes, jams, and preserves. If you want to try to ripen the fruit enough to eat raw, allow the fruit to stay on the tree into the fall. Remember Quince needs heat to ripen.

Once picked, store the fruit in a cool place, with good airflow. Do not store with other fruits or vegetables as they may taint the taste.

Japanese Quince Bonsai Tree

Beautifully shaped Japanese Quince bonsai tree
Beautifully shaped Japanese Quince bonsai tree | Source

What to do with Quince

Cooking with Quince Fruit:

The Quince fruit is extremely aromatic and makes great jellies, jams, marmalades and preserves.

Quince is also gaining popularity as an ingredient in chutney. Try this Quince and Persimmon Chutney recipe.

Fragrance:

The fruits themselves make good perfumers and can be placed in bowls in rooms to provide a lovely citrus and refreshing smell.

Bonsai Trees:

The Japanese Quince tree is a great specimen for Bonsai Trees. The ornamental flowers are quite beautiful.

Quince Health Facts

Here are some fun healthy facts about Quince Fruit:

  • Good source of fiber - both the pulp and the peel of the Quince fruit, provide a good source of daily fiber for the body.
  • Great source of vitamins and minerals - ripe Quince fruit have a good supply of Vitamin C (which helps remove harmful chemicals in the body), Copper, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Vitamin B-6.
  • Aides with many different health issues - Quince pulp has tannins that bind to cancer-causing toxins and chemicals in your colon, which can help with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), and also help prevent cancer. Quince fruit can also aide in reducing body weight (when eaten in moderation) and lower LDL cholesterol levels. It also helps boost immunity and reduce inflammation in the body.

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