What exactly is quince you might ask? Quince is in the same family as apples and pears and is native to Iran, Southwest Asia, and Turkey. Uniquely gnarled and twisted in form, the quince makes an unusual tree to add to the shrubbery border. Delicate, large pale-pink blooms resemble apple blossoms and are sweetly fragrant, as is the ripe fruit. The hard, knobby fruit is quite astringent and not very tasty for fresh eating. However, when you cook quince everything changes; you’ll be begging for autumn to arrive, to harvest the golden ornaments hanging from branches!
Around here we have several fruiting varieties of quince, Aromatnaya and Orange Quince varieties are the most aromatic of the bunch and have wonderful spicy tones.
Aromatnaya Quince – Aromatnaya, is a round yellow quince from southern Russia, Extremely aromatic (thus the name!), with a fresh pineapple-like flavor, it will have a dense texture when first picked (October) but will soften up in a few days. Beautiful small self-fertile tree with pale pink blossoms in spring will be hung with the golden globes of quince by fall. Ornamental as well as very productive and disease resistant. Fruit ripens in September – October. Zones 5-9.
Crimea Quince – Another quince from Russian! Crimea has large, round, bright yellow fruit that’s crisp. Excellent cooked in sauces, butters, marmalades or preserves Wonderful pineapple flavor and citrus-like fragrance. Beautiful small self-fertile tree with pale pink blossoms in spring. Very productive and disease resistant. Great tree for edible landscapes. Fruit ripens September-October. Zones 5-9.
Orange Quince – Orange quince gets its name for the lovely orange overtones it has in its flavor. Medium size round apple shaped fruit are round with a golden-colored skin and yellow flesh. Beautiful small self-fertile tree with pale pink blossoms in spring, good edible landscape trees. Very productive and disease resistant. Fruit ripens September through October. Zones 8A-9B.
Now you ask… What can I make with them? You can try a delicious Quince Chutney from Tall Clover Farm or this Honey Poached Quince Pie. When you cook quince they turn to a lovely blush color and the texture softens and they are excellent cooked in sauces, butters, marmalades or preserves.