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The quince is a relative of the apple and pear and belongs to the pome fruit family. Quince is one of the earliest known fruits. For over 4,000 years, quince trees have grown in Asia and the Mediterranean. Today, quince is also found in Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States.

The quince as we know it in the United States is a different fruit from that found in Western Asia and tropical countries, where the fruit is softer and more juicy. In colder climates, the fruit has a fine, handsome shape, a rich golden color when ripe, and a strong fragrance, judged by some to be heavy and overpowering.

In the raw form, the rind is rough and woolly, and the flesh is hard and unpalatable, with an astringent, acidulous taste. In hotter countries, the woolly rind disappears and the fruit can be eaten raw. Because it’s rarely used in its raw form in the United States, the hard and dry flesh of the quince turns light pink to purple, becoming softer and sweeter when it’s cooked.


Because of the astringent, tart flavor, quinces are commonly made into preserves and jellies. When prepared as jelly, it tastes like a cross between an apple and a pear. Sometimes the quince smells like a tropical fruit.



Select fruit that are large, firm, and yellow with little or no green. Quinces should be picked when full-yellow and firm. Quinces must be handled carefully as they bruise easily.


Wrap quinces in a plastic bag and refrigerate them for up to 2 months.



Quinces are not eaten fresh because of their astringency (due to high tannin content). Because of its high pectin content, it’s particularly popular for use in jams, jellies, and preserves. Quinces tend to hold their shape, so they are ideal for poaching, stewing, or baking as a dessert.



This fragrant fruit is available September through January.

Make Quince Part of Your 5 A Day Plan

Use quince when a recipe calls for pears or apples.

Serve cooked quince in your fruit compotes.

Add quinces to your baked goods.


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