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The Quince (Cydonia oblonga) is the most fragrant member of the pome family, which includes apples and pears.  They grow on a rather small shrubby tree and the fruit ranges in size from an orange to a grapefruit.

Quince is one of the earliest known fruits. The fruit is golden yellow and in Greek mythology, the ‘golden apple’ of Hesperides given by Paris to Apphrodite is thought to have been a quince.  Native to the Middle East, it is also one of the candidates as the apple in Biblical references.  Since ancient times quince were a symbol of love and happiness, and in the Middle Ages they were used at wedding feasts.

Quince is not edible when raw (very hard, bitter and tart), and must be cooked before eating.  When thoroughly cooked, it makes an excellent preserve.

There are 445  people in the U.S. listed on with the last name 'Quince'
(Mark Morton, 'Gastronomica', Fall 2010)

Quince preserves are the ancestors of modern jams and marmalades. The Portuguese quince preserve 'marmalada' was the original marmalade.

When quince slices are cooked slowly in sugar for several hours, the gradually turn from off white to a deep translucent red as some of its phenolic compounds turn into anthocyanin pigments.

The Owl and the Pussy Cat dined "on mince, and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon."

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. - 5 a Day




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