QUINCE is a shrub or small tree of the Asian genera Chaenomeles and Cydonia of the family Rosaceae (rose family). The common quince (Cydonia Oblonga) is a spineless tree with edible fruits cultivated from ancient times in Asia and in the Mediterranean area, where it was early naturalized. Its pome fruit is similar to that of the related apple and pear but is very astringent, and hence it is used chiefly cooked in preserves; marmalade is said to have first been made from QUINCE. As a commercial fruit tree, the QUINCE is cultivated more widely in the temperate zone of Europe (Caucasian, South and central Europe and the Arabic countries) than in the United States, where it is grown chiefly in California and New York. Nowadays mostly Argentina supplies the North American markets with this white or off-white flesh fruit from its cca 20.000 tons of production.
It is often used as a rootstock for dwarf fruit trees, especially the pear. The flowering quinces (genus Chaenomeles) are cultivated as ornamental shrubs for their profuse, usually thorny branches and attractive scarlet, pink, or white flowers. The fruit is too small and hard to be of commercial value but is sometimes used locally. Best known of this genus is C. lagenaria, the Japanese quince, or japonica. Some other Asian shrubs (e.g., a camellia) are also called japonica. QUINCE is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.
The QUINCE has a pome fruit, which is bright golden yellow when mature, pear-shaped, 3-5 inches long and 2,5-3,5 inches broad. The geneses are usually differentiated by the shape of the fruit: if the shape is apple-like, we call it "quince apple", if it is pear-like, we call it "quince pear". The definition is made difficult by Nature as the same tree might produce apple shaped fruits one year and pear shaped ones the next year!
The fruit has been grown since the ancient ages. The ancient Greeks believed that it keeps the evil away. The ancient Romans dedicated the QUINCE to Venus as they associated great beautifying effects with it. Other ancient beliefs report that the smell of the QUINCE keeps all poison away. If a pregnant woman eats QUINCE the baby will be beautiful, but she should stop eating the fruit a couple of weeks before birth otherwise the baby will have difficulties at birth as they believed the QUINCE tightens the birth channel.
Aunt Ilcsi - who created ilike organic skin care products - found that QUINCE tightens and tones even the most sluggish, large pored skin, smoothes the keratin layer, and thereby beautifies, elasticizes and rejuvenates the skin.
The pectin prepared from QUINCE seeds has a cooling, protecting, softening, calming and anti-irritation effect. Folk medicine uses it to heal eye irritation, rough skin, sore nipples (from breastfeeding), cracked lips, burns and freezes. Because of these beneficial effects QUINCE is used in some ilike organic skin care gel masks in combination with other pectins. It has a wonderful effect on the digestive system as well by stopping diarrhea, easing constipation, therefore healing the inflamed colons or hemorrhoids. Should you have strong PMS, drink half a glass of quince juice three times a day to easy the pain and discomfort. Quince helps to heal most kinds of inflammation including arthritis. An additional benefit for urban people! Pectin extracts heavy metals from the body, which are often found in exhaust fumes. The best way to treat the symptoms above is to drink the juice three times a day. If the quince is not fully ripened, the taste is more tart but has a better effect! You can also steam or cook the fruit. Most of the quince apples need only be cooked briefly to soften them. Gently stir for equal consistency. Add clover to increase the taste and the anti-inflammatory effect. In case the fruit or it's juice is not available, the dried leaf has the same effect - with less taste of course. The QUINCE seed may be collected in October-November and sun dried.
The Quince Apple Masque from ilike organic skin care vitalizes and hydrates your clients' skin after the cool season or sun or sun bed exposure. Its carotene, vitamins and fructose content also tighten and nourish the skin. The masque decreases oedema or under-eye puffiness.
USE IN CUISINE
QUINCE is part of holiday feasts in the UK. In different forms it is a favorite in Spanish Jewish cuisine as well. The fruit of the QUINCE is a late harvesting pear size fruit that keeps fresh for the winter months until spring if kept in a cool place. Every QUINCE has a unique shape, exotic aroma and a refreshing taste. It adds lots of vitamins and fibers to the diet. The fruit is rarely eaten raw though, because of its rather hard flesh and acidy, tart taste. When prepared, it makes excellent "QUINCE cheese", stewed fruit, jelly, candy filling, preserve or juice. The food industry likes to use QUINCE for its concentrated aroma and pectin content. It has more vitamin than its close relatives, the apple or the pear.
This is how to make the Hungarians' favorite "QUINCE Cheese":
- Clean and core the quince apples but leave the skin on.
- Measure the weight and start to cook in plentiful water.
- Prepare in a bowl: sugar - 0.8 times the weight of the quince blended with 3 oz water per pound.
- Cook till syrupy consistency. Strain off the cooked quince pieces and make sauce with a mixer.
- Pour the sauce into the syrup, bring it to boil and cook it on low for 17 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Pour the jelly into any shape of glass or china that you made wet prior. Let it cool completely, then take it out of the form and let it further dry on room temperature by placing the "quince cheese" onto a clean towel or cutting board.
- Eat when completely dry and hardened. It takes several days till the paste dries out completely; you need to turn the "cheese" upside down daily. You can mix walnut or almonds pieces into the paste if you like nuts. Lasts long if wrapped in foil and kept cool.
Enjoy! Or feel free to share this recipe with your quince loving clients!
(partially quoted from "Aunt Ilcsi's picture-book of herbs", written by Mrs Ilona Molnar, 2001)