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Vitamins and Minerals Found Inside Quinces

quince fruit and quince plant partsQuinces (pronounced kwins) are loaded with Vitamin C, dietary fiber, copper and other important nutrients our bodies seek. Quinces can be both nutritious and delicious when juiced with other ingredients but you want to be careful if you plan on juicing them alone.

Related to apples and pears, the quince tree bears a pome fruit, which is bright golden yellow when mature, pear-shaped, 7-12 cm long and 6-9 cm broad. Here are a few of the questions we attempt to answer about quinces.

  • What vitamins and minerals in quinces make them so good for us?
  • What is the best method for juicing juinces?
  • What are some great buying tips for quinces?

Plus, we'll do our best to provide some general information about quinces that you might not find so easily elsewhere on the Internet.

Let's begin our exploration of Quinces...

Vitamins and Minerals in Quinces

Quinces are probably best known for being loaded with Vitamin C, but they also can be a great source of dietary fiber and copper.

Vitamins in Quinces

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Trace amounts of Vitamin B-complex

Minerals in Quinces

  • Copper
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Selenium

The next time you think about quinces... think about how they might add a powerful boost to your daily nutrition through juicing.

Tips for Juicing Quinces

Juicing quince can add both a tart (slightly sour) flavor and valuable nutrients to most any home-juiced cocktail... or it can result in a not-so-palatable drink that is difficult, if not impossible to swallow.

Here are a few tips for juicing the quince that may help turn your juicing experience into something you look forward to and thoroughly enjoy.

Unless the sweet variety of quinces are available, they are too acidic and astringent to be eaten raw and are generally juiced with sweeter fruits to enhance their flavor.

Quarter quinces and remove cores but do not peel them before processing them in your juicer. (Make sure you wash them first!)

Quinces can be used in small amounts to enhance and deepen the flavour of a variety of sweeter juices.

Almost anything that can be done with apples can be done with the sweeter variety of quinces although they are a bit harder to find so I don't hold them quite as high on my "most versatile fruits" list... just keep in mind that they can be quite sour if not ripe.

Purchasing Tips for Buying Quince

Here are a few tips for buying quinces that may help you get the freshest ingredients. We'll also include a few storing tips for quinces that you might find helpful.

Most varieties of quince are rock hard and quite sour, though in the 1990's a sweeter variety called the "apple quince" was developed and can be eaten raw and/or juiced.

Quinces are a seasonal fruit available in the early fall through January, though in some areas they may still be purchased through February and March.

Though most large grocery chains will have quinces available in the fall, you may have to look a little harder to find them in a tiny corner of the produce section. Not big sellers, quinces are considered a specialty item.

Quinces can be round, oval or somewhat pear shaped. Their appearance resembles a golden apple or pear.

Choose quinces that are firm with a pale yellow skin. The yellow skin is often somewhat mottled with brown spots that don't affect the flavor or quality but they should have a distinct fragrant aroma indicating they are ripe.

Quinces that are shriveled, soft, or brown all over are no longer fresh.

If the quinces are not completely yellow, store them at room temperature until they are fully ripened, yellow all over, and emit a pleasant aroma. They should then be used quickly or they will become mealy.

If you don't plan to use the ripe quince immediately, then store them in the refrigerator where they will keep up to two weeks. However, it's best to store them apart from apples and pears because their penetrating aroma may affect the other fruits.

General Information About Quince

This article wouldn't be complete if we didn't include a little general information about Quince, as well as a few helpful links if you want to explore the quince fruit further.

quince fruit ripeing on treeThe homeland of the quince lies between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, a mountainous region called the Caucasus that touches northern Turkey and Iran as well as Southern Georgia. A knobby, irregular shaped variety still grows wild in this part of the world.

Though the quince has had many names bestowed upon it, the true scientific names are Cydonia oblongata or C. vulgaris.

There are two main varieties of quinces; the more rounded variety is highly acidic and is used mainly for making confections and jams. The cultivar that more closely resembles the pear in appearance tends to be slightly sweeter, though it is not considered a sweet fruit.

The Quince (Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia. It is a small deciduous tree, growing 5-8 m tall and 4-6 m wide.

Cultivation of the quince began in Mesopotamia, an area now Northern Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Between 200 and 100 BCE, this "golden apple" was cultivated by the Greeks as it traveled into the Eastern Mediterranean.

The quince was actually cultivated prior to the apple and reached Palestine by 100 BCE. Reference to the apple in the Song of Solomon may not have been an apple at all but might have been a quince instead.

A Spanish explorer of the nineteenth century visited Chile and wrote about quinces that were quite acidic and astringent, but that developed a sweetness if allowed to fully ripen on the tree.

By 1720 quince was thriving in Virginia. Many home gardens throughout the colonies were reaping a fall harvest from their quince trees; however, apples quickly snatched the spotlight from the quinces.

Some historians believe Eve's fruit of temptation might have been a pomegranate or possibly even a quince.

In 1570 Pope Pius V gave a spectacular banquet that featured as its piece de resistance, a quince pastry that required "one quince per pastry."

The British were filling quince cavities with sugar and baking them long before Americans were baking apples.

When baking with quinces, add sugar only after they become soft and the flesh starts to change in color from white to pink.

Quince, like the apple and guava, produces a natural pectin when cooked, making it ideal for jelling -- it is easily transformed into marmalades, jams, and jellies.

The earliest true preserves came about during classical times when quinces were cooked with honey and vinegar, a combination that produced a gel or pectin-like quality.

Stews that combine sour fruits, such as quince, with meats are traditional foods in Iran and still remain popular today. Iranians also peel and core the quince and stuff the cavity with meat stew.

The legendary golden apple of Hesperides that Paris gave to Aphrodite was really a quince.

The ancient Greeks considered quinces to be the symbol of fertility and dedicated them to the goddess of love. One myth says that pregnant women who indulge their appetites in generous quantities of quinces will give birth to industrious and highly intelligent children.

The whole quince fruits are so fragrant at room temperature they were used in ancient times to perfume the room, much as we use room fresheners today.

Quinces have long been used as a herbal medicine. Even today in Iran and other parts of the Middle East, the dried pits of the fruit are soaked in boiling water and used to treat sore throats and coughs.

additional sources and resources for quinces

Additional Sources/Resources for Quince

 

Be sure to check out both our "Juicing" and our "Smoothies" sections for delicious recipes and more using Quince!