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Quince Trees


Quince Trees


A relative of the apple, the quince is one of the earliest known fruits. For over 4,000 years, quince trees have grown in Asia and the Mediterranean. Today, they are also found in Latin America, the Middle East and here in the United States where there is a resurgence of interest in this ancient fruit. Quinces typically aren’t eaten fresh (with the exception of the Aromatnaya Quince), but make wonderful marmalades, are a lively addition to apple sauces and pies, and compliment meat dishes. Because they contain a large amount of natural pectin, they are also ideal for jellies, chutneys and preserves. Quinces are all low chill (300 hours), self-fruitful and tolerate wet soils better than most fruit trees.

Harvest Tip: Mature quince fruits snap easily from the tree. If you have to tug on the fruit to remove it from the tree, it isn't quite ripe. To harvest, lift the fruit slightly and twist gently until the stem snaps free. Experts say quince harvesting should begin when the fruit changes from dark to light green color and are generally harvested in October and must be protected from frost to store. Most quinces do not ripen on the tree. Instead, they ripen during cool storage. As they ripen, they are highly aromatic and must be kept in isolation or the aromas will taint nearby fruit in storage. A fully ripened quince will be yellow all over and will keep in cool conditions for three months or more. Quince can be eaten raw but it is not as desirable. For best results, cook quince and use in sweet and savory dishes or use as flavoring jellies, pastries and pies.