In the past, the quince was often found in orchards and in cottage gardens. The meanwhile rather cautious interest is possibly due to the fact that at least the quinces indigenous to this country are usually not suitable for raw consumption. Not many people want to go to the trouble of boiling the fruit or processing it into jam. But these fruits have a lot more to offer.

Domestic quinces are not suitable for raw consumption

In the approximately 200 species of quince (Cydonia oblonga), a distinction is made between two groups of varieties, the so-called apple and pear quinces. Their name is derived from the shape of the fruit.

  • Apple quinces are light yellow, very hard, with rather coarse-grained pulp
  • elongated pear quince golden yellow, somewhat softer with finer pulp
  • these quinces are very hard, with a tart, sour taste
  • Apple quinces are very aromatic when cooked
  • Pear quince a little milder in taste
  • both are cooked and then processed further
  • for example with jellies, jams, jams and juices
  • not suitable for raw consumption
  • mostly hard and woody and above all very bitter
  • Quinces are generally not poisonous

Their aromatic, tart taste only unfolds when they are cooked or cooked, while bitter substances and acidity disappear. Quince varieties grown in Central Europe cannot be eaten raw due to the low hours of sunshine and low temperatures. They form too many bitter substances.

Tip:  In their original distribution areas in Southeastern Europe, South America, Turkey and the Caucasus, they form significantly less bitter substances, which makes it possible to eat them raw. Here the fruits become softer and sweeter thanks to the more intense sunlight.

Also, do not eat the fruits of the ornamental quince raw

What many do not know, the fruits of the ornamental quince are also edible, but only when cooked. They are not edible raw, and they are not poisonous either. In the uncooked state, the fruits of the ornamental quince are very hard and very sour, so that they can easily be used as a lemon juice substitute or in the form of purees and sauces to refine and thicken Asian dishes. However, it should only be used sparingly as a seasoning. Otherwise, like conventional quinces, they can be processed into jellies and jams or liqueurs.

Only a few varieties are suitable for eating raw

Quinces are in season from September to November. Varieties that are suitable for raw consumption are rarely found in Germany. Mostly they can only be found in Turkish fruit stores or delicatessen stores. If you are not lucky there, you can also contact online retailers who sell or offer exotic, Mediterranean and tropical fruits.

There are now newer varieties that contain fewer bitter substances and can therefore also be eaten raw. These include the varieties ‘Rohköstler’, ‘Shirin’, the table quince ‘Ayva’ and the ‘Honigquince’ as well as the varieties ‘Orange’, ‘Kap’s Sweet’, ‘Aromatnaya’, ‘Crimea’ and ‘Kuganskaya’.

Prepare quinces for raw consumption

The fresher the quince, the tastier it is. Before they can be eaten, however, they must be properly prepared. To do this, first rub the fine, slightly oily fluff that covers the peel with a kitchen towel, cotton cloth or vegetable brush. This is important because the fluff contains most of the bitter substances. The peel should only be rubbed and not washed off.

The varieties mentioned do not have to be peeled for raw consumption. Others, like apples, can be peeled to remove the very hard and bitter peel. Then the fruits are halved or quartered in order to access the core, because it has to be completely removed. In contrast to apples, the core of quinces cannot be eaten with them. Now, depending on personal preference, they can be cut into slices or pieces and eaten.

Tip:  For larger quantities, there is the option of freezing the fruits raw or boiling them down so that they can later be processed into jelly or other desserts.

Are the quince kernels poisonous?

It was known very early on that the quince has a healing effect. This also applies to the cores. The undamaged kernels of the ripe fruits can be dried and used as a support against respiratory diseases, among other things.

  • only use intact, undamaged kernels
  • do not chew or swallow
  • Quince kernels contain hydrogen cyanide, like other stone fruits
  • Just suck the kernels
  • when sucking, slimy substance is formed
  • which can relieve sore throats, coughs and bronchitis
  • accidentally swallowing one core or the other, no problem
  • Hydrocyanic acid is extremely toxic in higher doses

A mucus can also be made from the seeds, which externally helps against skin inflammation. To do this, you soak a tablespoon of intact quince kernels in eight tablespoons of cold water. After a few hours, mucus has formed, which can then be applied to the affected areas of the skin. All of this shows what a variety of fruits quinces are. You can use almost the entire fruit. By the way, the quince is ripe when its skin is intensely light or golden yellow.

Quinces are undoubtedly one of the most versatile types of fruit, regardless of whether they are raw or cooked. Its bright yellow fruits can be seen from afar from October onwards. In addition, they give off a bewitching scent, so that one would like to bite into it right away. But not every quince is suitable to be eaten raw.

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