If you want to plant a quince tree in your own garden, you first have to make a choice. Should it be an apple quince or a pear quince? Most garden owners are at a loss when it comes to this question, because hardly anyone knows the differences. And there are some! At the same time, you should also know what you want to do with the many fruits later. Then the upcoming decision is easy to make.

Quince: apple or pear?

The quince, bot. Cydonia oblonga is one of the forgotten fruit varieties nowadays. Many even consider it a cross between an apple and a pear. The names apple quince and pear quince underline this assumption. But that is not the case!

  • the quince is a separate genus
  • from the rose family
  • apples and pears also belong to this family
  • they are all related to each other
  • yet there are many noticeable differences


The genus quince offers us different varieties. Each of them is assigned to either apple quince or pear quince. Both have a high ornamental value for the garden as a tree and do not really differ in appearance. But in the end, what matters to us is their fruits. These differ in many points, which we will examine in more detail below:

  • appearance of the fruit
  • pulp
  • taste
  • Suitability for raw consumption
  • use in the kitchen

Appearance reminiscent of apple or pear

The first difference that immediately catches the eye when comparing the fruits is their shape. The apple quince produces a rather round fruit that is reminiscent of an apple. The pear quince, on the other hand, is elongated towards the stem and is therefore similar to the pear. This difference in shape led to the naming, even if the quince with its yellow tone has nothing in common with a pear and certainly not with an apple.

The texture of pulp

The pulp of both types of quinces is firmer in consistency than we know from pears and apples. Because of this, it is rarely eaten raw. But it is also easy to see that the two types differ when it comes to processing.

  • the flesh of the apple quince is drier and harder
  • it is interspersed with a multitude of stone cells
  • this makes it more difficult to process
  • the pear quince offers softer but not mushy flesh
  • it contains hardly any stone cells
  • it is juicy and productive
  • processing is easier

Subtle differences in taste

Tart and mild, these are the two keywords that best describe the fruit. The apple quince is tart, the pear quince is mild. But the decision for a species is not easy to make. Because the apple quince is not only bitter. It smells intense and has a stronger taste, so it is considered more aromatic. On the other hand, many people find the mild taste of pear quince a bit bland. It also smells modest.

Tip: The ‘Konstantinopeler’ variety is one of the aromatic apple quinces. It bears abundantly and is a good pollen donor.

Suitability for raw consumption

Only a few people in this country dare to eat a raw quince, because it is widely considered inedible. But that’s not entirely true. It is the comparatively hard consistency of the pulp that makes eating it raw so difficult. Simply biting into it like you would an apple doesn’t work at all with the quince. But peeled and cut into thin slices, the raw quince smells and tastes delicious. The softer pear quinces are the easiest to eat, while the tart apple quinces are more for the hard-boiled. You have to discover for yourself which one suits you better. And anyway, whether you like them raw. As such, it’s a good idea to buy and taste the fruit before making a decision to purchase a tree variety.

Tip: The pulp of the quince should be chewed thoroughly. It also doesn’t hurt to have a glass of water handy. Because occasionally it can cause a tightness in the throat when swallowing, which, however, dissolves immediately after a sip of water.

use in the kitchen

Mostly, however, apple quince and pear quince are processed in the kitchen. There are also differences between the two types:

  • Apple quinces taste good when boiled down as a compote
  • the pear quince can be juiced better
  • can also be made into jams
Note: Undamaged fruits of both types can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two months after harvest.

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