Learn About Quince

Author: Chef Sydney

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What is Quince?

A quince is a tree-grown fruit from Turkey and southeast Asia.  Quinces are round, apple-shaped, or pear-shaped with ridges or bumps.  Before it has ripened, quince fruit is green and the fruit can be tough.  When ripe, quinces are bright yellow, considered heavy for the size of the fruit, and are firm with a spongy texture inside.  Quinces are extremely fragrant fruit with a pleasant aroma when ripe.  When ripe or raw, quinces are difficult to cut, so use caution when cutting them.  

What Does Quince Taste Like?

Raw and cooked quinces have different flavors.  While quinces can be eaten raw, they are not often eaten raw due to their tartness and tough skin.  Its flavor is compared to a combination of crisp pears and tart apples.  Cooked quinces have a sweeter, more delicate flavor and a softer texture than raw quinces.

How Do You Eat Quince?

Quince can be eaten raw or cooked.  People enjoy quince fruit with or without the skin.  Quince seeds need to be removed before eating.  Quinces are commonly used in jams, jellies, and marmalades.  A popular use for quince is to make it into a paste called membrillo, which is commonly served with firm bread and on cheese plates.  Quince is commonly poached with honey and vanilla, similarly to pears, and served with a sweetened syrup.  Quince is sometimes used in fruit tarts or pies and the fruit is sometimes candied.  Its juice is sometimes added into drinks like tea or punch.

Learn About Quince
A wicker basket of yellow quince or queen apple autumn fruits, sliced lobules and seeds on black rustic wooden background close-up

How to Prepare Raw Quince

  1. Peel the skin with a vegetable peeler, if desired.
  2. With a sharp knife, carefully cut the quince into quarters.
  3. Completely remove the seeds from the fruit.
  4. Cut quince into eighths, if desired.

Where Can You Buy Quince?

Quince fruits are typically found in the fall.  They are usually harder to find but are sometimes found in the produce section of larger grocery stores and local farmers’ markets.  Look for them in Asian food stores, Hispanic food stores, and in some international grocery stores.

How Do You Store Quince?

Store quince in a single layer because they bruise easily.  They can be stored at room temperature for up to a week.  Place them in a plastic bag for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Fun Fact About Quince

Quinces cooked with sugar turn from yellow to a reddish-pink color.

Did You Know?

Quince trees are in the same family as roses.

Recipes Using Quince

Homemade Membrillo

Make a classic quince dish that tastes delicious. Wash, peel, core, and dice quince. Add them to a saucepan with sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and water. Simmer for about an hour and blend with a hand blender until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and cool completely. Once cooled, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

Poached Quince

Poached quince tastes warm and makes for a tasty dessert. Place washed, peeled, cored, and sliced quince in a saucepan. Add water, honey, sugar, a vanilla bean, star anise, and cinnamon and bring pan to a simmer. Serve poached quince warm with vanilla ice cream.

Quince Upside-Down Cake

Add flair by creating a twist on a classic. Prepare the cake batter as normal, but add cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the dry ingredients. Poach quince and pour into the bottom of a cake pan. Pour the cake batter over the quince mixture and bake as directed. Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes before turning it over on a cake plate.

Apple Crisp with Quince

Add quince to the apple mixture to spice up your next apple crisp. Core and slice washed apples and quince fruit place in a large baking dish. Sprinkle sugar, vanilla, flour, and cinnamon over the fruit and pour water over the fruit. Mix the ingredients for the crisp together and layer over the fruit. Bake for 42-46 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel.

Quince Juice

Prepare quince juice with your leftover quince fruits. Wash, peel, and dice quince. Place the fruit in a pot with water, vanilla, and cardamom and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce mixture to a simmer until the fruit is fork tender. Use a colander to remove the juice from the fruit. Put the juice back in the pot, add in maple syrup or honey, and boil. Cool before serving.


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