The quince is the fruit of the small Asiatic tree, cydonis oblonga. It has been cultivated for over 3,000 years and was most probably introduced into Europe by the Romans.
The quince matures in autumn, and in shape and size may resemble either a pear or an apple, depending on the individual variety. When mature, the quince is pale to deep gold in colour, sometimes with a slight reddish tinge. The fragrance of this fruit is particularly marked and, if stored, it should be kept separate from other fruit. The quince is not eaten raw because of its astringent flavour and the hardness and dryness of its flesh. It is, however, delicious cooked, when its flesh turns from creamy white to a pale rosy pink.
The quince contains a considerable amount of pectin and is therefore excel-lent for use in jams, jellies, marmalades, syrups, preserves and home-made wines. Quince is also often cooked in pies and tarts with apple, pumpkin or marrow.
To prepare quince for cooking, remove and discard the peel and core, then slice or chop it.