I was quite surprised – reading some comments on my last post – to learn that the quince is not widely known. I’ve always loved this fruit, with its quality of romantic history. When I was a child the trees were everywhere and the fruit abundant. Nowadays, it seems the tree has become unfashionable and the fruit is rarely available and – when it can be found – is obscenely pricey.
From Wikipedia: The quince /ˈkwɪns/ (Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities.

Pic credit:
Pic credit:

Most varieties of quince are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw unless ‘bletted’ (softened by frost and subsequent decay). High in pectin, they are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed.
The flesh of the fruit turns red after a long cooking time. The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavour. Adding a diced quince to apple sauce will enhance the taste of the apple sauce with the chunks of relatively firm, tart quince. The term “marmalade”, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from “marmelo,” the Portuguese word for this fruit.
Quince trivia:
In Turkey, the expression ayvayı yemek (literally “to eat the quince”) is used as a derogatory term indicating any unpleasant situation or a malevolent incident to avoid. This usage is likened to the rather bitter aftertaste of a quince fruit inside the mouth.
When a baby is born in Slavonia (Croatia), a quince tree is planted as a symbol of fertility, love and life.
Ancient Greek poets (Ibycus, Aristophanes, e.g.) used quinces (kydonia) as a mildly ribald term for teenage breasts.
Although the book of Genesis does not name the specific type of the fruit that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden, some ancient texts suggest Eve’s fruit of temptation might have been a quince.
In Plutarch’s Lives, Solon is said to have decreed that “bride and bridegroom shall be shut into a chamber, and eat a quince together.”
I was interested to find, in my research, that the quince is used in Argentinian cuisine. As my daughter is currently there for six weeks on a cultural exchange programme, living with a host family in Cordoba, I’m very keen to try and replicate what she could be eating while she’s there.



It’s rather fascinating to discover that our food culture so closely mirrors theirs. Beef barbeque is as popular there as it is here. In Argentina the membrillo, as the quince is called in Spanish, is cooked into a reddish, jelly-like block or firm, reddish paste known as dulce de membrillo, very good with a nice slab of steak.
Quince cheese, also known as dulce de membrillo, is a sweet, thick, jelly made of the pulp of the quince fruit. Quince cheese is a common confection in several countries, where it goes by various names, such as carne de membrillo or ate de membrillo in Spanish, marmelada in Portuguese, codonyat in Catalan, cotognata in Italian and membrilyo in Tagalog.


Pic credit: Wikipedia

Recipe adapted from here:

I added two chopped chillies to the mixture.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to eat my lunch … and daydream that I’m right there with my daughter, sharing in this wonderful adventure she’s on …



18 Comments Add yours

  1. nickczardas says:

    I knew them,my grandmother used to make quince jelly.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Quince jelly on French toast … yum!

  2. Colleen says:

    I am crazy about quinces. Can’t get enough when the season is here. It is such a short season and you never see enough of them in the shops. I love to make quince jelly, then once strained off I freeze the wedges of soft fruit and use for meat, or just to caramelize in a pan with a bit of sugar or honey and spices and serve with ice cream….so wishing for some now. I made delicious quince jelly with xylitol this year to fit in with my banting lifestyle. It’s so good 😉 xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      I can’t believe how scarce they are nowdays Colly!

      1. Colleen says:

        I know….faaaar too scarce. They are just one of my favourite fruits! That membrillo of yours looks so good. I am salivating and I can just smell it 🙂 xx

      2. theonlycin says:

        It tastes pretty much like the store-bought quince jelly 🙂

  3. slpmartin says:

    Although I had heard of them before…I thought of them more as a decorative tree…thanks for the information…hope all is well.

    1. theonlycin says:

      All is well, thanks Charlie. Hope all is good on your side too xxx

  4. Dee says:

    I have not heard of them, and do not know if we have them in our specialty stores, will have to check. Found your information really interesting, you have peeked my curiosity about quinces. I do hope your daughter has a wonderful time, it is an adventure.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is an adventure, Dee. Her communications are few and far between, but she seems to be having a great time.

  5. Hope all is going well with the trip, and I love the quince paste. Something I shall make soon I hope 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      I hope so too, Tandy, am sure you will love it and it’s so easy to make 🙂

  6. Arkenaten says:

    I must quiz my missus as she is Portuguese.
    Is it easy to grow, Cin?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Not sure, Ark. I should imagine that it would take a few years to bear fruit.

  7. dolosgooi says:

    I’ve only had quince jelly.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Very similar, Dolosgooi 🙂

  8. hotlyspiced says:

    What a great experience for your daughter. I have always loved quince – poached with lemon juice and sugar and served for dessert with meringue and ice cream. I also have quince paste on a cheese plate but I’ve never made my own – always bought it. I agree that quince are becoming more and more difficult to source xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      That dessert sounds fabulous, HS, will definitely keep it in mind!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s