The quince is a Mediterranean fruit of great antiquity which was introduced to this country in 1573. William of Orange used a quince as a secret sign to his supporters and Isaac Newton enjoyed his baked.
Quince was the original fruit used in marmalade and has been a perennial favourite in old gardens, not only for the fruit which when ripe is yellow but for the beauty of the tree and its flowers in Spring. Once cooked it turns a rich red. Stand a quince on a shelf in the kitchen or in the airing cupboard and enjoy the fragrance.
It can be used in many ways - for jelly and jam; for a subtle flavour add a few slices to an apple pudding and to stuffing for meat and game dishes. It takes longer to cook than apple so should be sliced more thinly or parcooked.
The quince growing season is from October through to November. Availability varies greatly so please ring ahead to check.
Although the quince is not the most written about fruit, there are a number of good information sources. Wikipedia covers some of the fruit's more exotic past. For more practical purposes, the following are probably the most useful:
- For recipes - Fruit Book by Jane Grigson
- For growing hints there are also a wide range available covering the quince.
Otherwise, why not check our favourite recipes?