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Quince is a fruit that has been cultivated and enjoyed for thousands of years. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Persia (modern-day Iran), where it was highly prized for its aromatic fragrance and delicate sweet flavour.

The ancient Greeks and Romans also enjoyed quince, and it was used in a variety of culinary and medicinal preparations. The fruit was especially popular as a sweetener and flavouring agent in desserts and beverages.

During the Middle Ages, quince was widely cultivated throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region. It was a popular ingredient in many dishes, including stews, pies, and preserves.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, quince became even more popular as European explorers introduced the fruit to the Americas, where it quickly became a staple of colonial cuisine. Quince was especially popular in New England, where it was used to make a variety of preserves and jellies.

Today, quince is still widely cultivated and enjoyed around the world. It is used in a variety of culinary applications, including preserves, pies, and sauces, and is also valued for its health benefits. Quince is high in antioxidants and vitamin C, and may have a variety of other health benefits, including improved digestion and reduced inflammation.


Quince (Cydonia oblong) are easy to grow and come in many shapes and sizes to suit most gardens. You can choose from large spreading trees that make an attractive focal point in a lawn, especially in warmer locations, to more compact forms suitable for smaller gardens or even large pots.  


Free-standing quince trees reach a height and spread of 4–5m (13–16ft), depending on the root stock, position and soil type. Trees will usually start cropping when between 3 and 6 years old. 


Quince trees are self-fertile, so you will get a good crop with just one tree, without any need for a pollination partner.

Prior to cooking quince with their skins on always wash them removing the fury down.  If you are peeling them make sure you have a bowl of water with lemon juice in so you can drop you peeled quarters in the lemon water other wise they will turn brown quickly.  The acid in the lemon can slow down the enzymatic browning process by altering the enzyme responsible for the reaction.


The browning happens because quince contains an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which reacts with oxygen in the air to form brown coloured compounds known as melanins.  This process is known as enzymatic browning, and it is a natural chemical reaction that occurs in many fruits and vegetables.


Quinces have a wide range of uses both sweet and savoury dishes.  They have high levels of pectin which what is required to help set jams and jellies, so perfect for such applications.  Different cultures around the world use them in various ways.

Middle Eastern Cuisine: Quince is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, where it is often used in savory dishes such as stews and tagines. One popular dish is quince lamb tagine, which is made by slow-cooking quince and lamb with spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and coriander.

Spanish Cuisine: Quince paste, known as membrillo, is a traditional accompaniment to cheese in Spain. It is made by cooking quince with sugar until it forms a thick, sweet paste that can be sliced and served with cheese.


Greek Cuisine: In Greece, quince is used to make a sweet dessert called spoon sweets, which are preserved fruits in a thick syrup. Quince spoon sweets are made by poaching quince in a sugar syrup until it becomes tender, and then cooking it further until the syrup becomes thick and glossy.

Persian Cuisine: Quince is a staple in Persian cuisine, where it is often used in stews and rice dishes. One popular dish is khoresh-e beh, which is a savory stew made with quince, beef, and a variety of herbs and spices.

South American Cuisine: In South America, quince is used to make a sweet paste called dulce de membrillo, which is similar to the Spanish membrillo. It is often eaten as a snack or used as a filling for pastries and desserts.


Quince also make wonderful fruit leathers and can simply be poached until soft and then eaten or made into pies and crumbles.  


When cooking them you can wash them and rub of their downy fur and place them on a baking tray and cook gently 180C, 350F or Gas 4 for approximately 30-40 minutes depending on their size or until just soft to the touch.  Then you can remove them from the oven, let cool before removing the skin and then eat with ice cream or honey/maple syrup or both! 


There are many ways to cook quince so give them a go, it will all be worthwhile!


Here are a few varied recipes for you to try


Sweet Port/Wine Roasted Quince

If you want to add a little exoticness to them take 3 quince, cut in half and take the core out before placing cut side down in a roasting dish or tray.  Then stud with with cloves about 3 on each or to your taste.  Mix together 400ml water, juice of half a lemon, 200ml port or sweet wine and 75ml of honey or maple syrup and pour over the quince.  Add 3 cinnamon sticks and 2 star anise and you could also add some Anise Hyssop or Rosemary sprigs.


Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until soft and tender, sticky and golden delicious!  Let the quince cool slightly before carefully removing the cloves.  Any juices can be poured over the quinces.  If there are lots of juices put into a pan and reduce until it becomes syrupy then pour over the quince.  Serve with ice cream, yogurt, creme fraiche etc.


Quince Crumble


Pre heat oven 190C - 350F - gas 5

6 Quince peeled, cored and poached

200g all purpose flour or gluten free flour 

100g butter

100g sugar

1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice or cinnamon (optional)


Put poached quince in dish.

Make crumble by gently rubbing the butter into the flour until you have totally blended the butter into the flour and it looks ‘crumbly’!

Then mix in sugar and spices if using.

Sprinkle the mixture over the Quince and bake in a pre heated oven at 190C - 350F - gas 5 until crumble looks golden brown.


Gluten Free/Dairy Free Option


Pre heat oven 190C - 350F - gas 5

4 Pitted Dates

6 Quince peeled, cored and poached

50g Almonds 

50g Cashew nuts 

30g Pumpkin Seeds

30g Sunflowers seeds

40g Shredded Coconut

1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice or cinnamon (optional)

100ml Maple Syrup


Put poached quince in a dish

Put all the nuts and seeds into a food processor and blend until fine.  Add mixed spice/cinnamon and maple syrup to the mix a pulse a few times to mix.  The mixture should look like slightly damp sand if not just add some water.

Sprinkle the mixture over the Quince and bake in a pre heated oven at 190C - 350F - gas 5 until crumble looks golden brown.


This recipe is by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall


Hot Lamb and Quince Salad

The zingy sweetness of the quince goes beautifully with the rosy lamb. If you like, add a handful of rocket and/or coriander leaves to the salad, but it's delicious just as it is. Serves four as a starter, two as a main.


1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

Zest of 1 orange

¼-½ tsp chilli flakes

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

500g lamb leg steak, butterflied (ask the butcher to do this for you), trimmed of excess fat

1 large quince, washed but unpeeled

2 tbsp runny honey

Juice of 1 lemon

1 sprig fresh rosemary

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a small, dry frying pan over a medium heat, toast the coriander and cumin seeds until just fragrant – about a minute. Grind roughly with a pestle and mortar, and combine in a bowl with the orange zest, chilli flakes and oil. Add the lamb, rubbing the marinade well into the surface; cover and marinate for two to four hours, turning over once or twice.


Halve the quince lengthways, remove the core, then cut each half into four segments. Put these into a small pan with the honey, lemon juice, rosemary and enough water just to cover. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and poach gently until tender – depending on the size of the quince, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and place in the marinade with the lamb. Turn everything over with your hands so the quince slices are well coated.


Warm up a small griddle pan or frying pan over a high heat. Fry the seasoned lamb steak for a couple of minutes a side, then leave on a warmed plate to rest for five minutes while you cook the quince. Griddle or fry the quince segments on both sides until starting to caramelise.


Cut the lamb into thin slices and arrange on plates with the quince. Deglaze the pan with some of the poaching liquid, then pour the pan juices over the meat and fruit, sprinkle on some flaky sea salt and serve immediately.

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