Quince is a golden fruit that resembles a cross between an apple and a pear. In hot countries, the fruits are often juicy and soft, but North American and European quince tend to have a tough rind and bitter, astringent flesh. This makes it rather unpleasant to eat raw. When selecting quince, make sure they are ripe and golden with no green parts on them.
What You'll Learn Today
What Does Quince Taste Like?
The fruit has a sour, fruity flavor. In the United States, it is usually woody with a hard peel, although some grown in more tropical climates such as southern Florida can be less astringent and certain varieties are also better than others.
The fruits are covered by a soft fuzz that contains a bitter substance. Remove the fuzz with a dry cloth and then rinse before using the fruit. This helps prevent the bitterness from being transferred to the fruit.
The peel can bruise easily so care must be taken when harvesting and handling the fruit if it is to stay good for an extended period.
A lot of flavor is present in the rind of the quince, so it’s best to leave it on the fruit if you are storing it.
How To Eat Quince Fruit?
Quinces are best eaten cooked. Simply chop them into cubes and boil in a little water until softened. This will remove much of the tannins within the fruit that cause the bitter flavor.
You can also bake quinces to have the same effect, simply by cutting in half and placing them into a hot oven. You can see some quince recipes in this article.
If you extract the juice from raw quince it will be quite dry to taste. There are two options, one is to cook the quince pulp and then extract the juice, or two, boil the juice after extraction.
Pureed quince can have a variety of uses. As quince is high in pectin, it’s perfect for making jams and jellies. It also goes well in fruity chutneys and even savory meat dishes.
Adding lemon juice and honey provides a fresh, delicious taste to cooked quince. You can also make a wide variety of desserts.
Can You Eat Quince Fruit Raw?
You can absolutely eat a quince raw, although if the fruit was grown in a non-tropical climate it will probably be very dry and bitter.
When quince is grown in tropical climates the rind is not as dense and wooly and the fruit, less acidic, softer, and juicier.
To eat a quince raw, cut a very ripe fruit into thin slivers. They should smell flowery and have a very floral flavor.
Eating bitter quince is likely to give you a stomach upset, so should really be avoided. A little gentle cooking will improve it immeasurably.
You can dry raw quince by cutting a soft, ripe fruit into slices and drying them in a low oven for 8 to 12 hours at 100°F to 120°F. They make a tasty and healthy snack or can be used to decorate cakes or other food.
A single quince contains around 50 calories and has a quarter of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Find out more about eating quince fruit raw in this video:
Are All Quince Fruit Edible?
All quince fruits are, technically speaking, edible, although some varieties are incredibly tart, such as the Japanese quince which is really only meant to be an ornamental shrub. These can still be used in cooking to make jams or jellies, but it is generally better to use cultivars designed for fruit production.
Best Quince Variety For Eating Raw
The best quince variety for eating raw is “Orange”. This cultivar is from the Cydonia oblonga species. It produces very fragrant, round fruits that have an orange tint to their flesh. It is softer than many other varieties and is possible to eat raw, providing it has been well ripened.
If your quince fruit is grown in a cooler climate eating them raw can be a less than pleasant experience. With a little cooking these hard, woody, almost juiceless fruits transform, almost magically, into something succulent, soft, and utterly delicious.
Some varieties produce more edible fruits than others and they must be fully ripe if you want to eat them raw, straight from the tree.
Don’t let the fact that uncooked quince isn’t the most delectable of fruits. Used in both sweet and savory dishes and transformed into jelly, jam, or sauce the quince can be something very special indeed.
To learn more about the humble and ancient quince, take a look at our related articles.