While our grandparents used to cook quince regularly, quinces are more unknown these days. Quinces have been appreciated since ancient times as a remedy for skin inflammation, indigestion and colds. The fragrant fruits are also rich in nutrients. Quinces, for example, contain a lot of potassium, which is needed for, among other things, the blood pressure and the function of the heart, nerves and muscles.
What are quinces?
A quince looks like a mixture of apple and pear - no wonder, because the three core fruit types are closely related. Named for its shape, it distinguishes the hard, slightly tarter apple quince and the softer, milder pear quince.
Both quince varieties have a yellow, woolly skin and inside a core casing. Their taste is aromatic, fruity and lemony - but only when cooked. Because of the 200 types of quince only very few are raw edible.
Quinces - that's in it
In addition to plenty of potassium quinces provide minerals and trace elements sodium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese and fluorine, which are responsible among other things for the cell metabolism and oxygen transport in the body.
Quinces can also score with vitamins: they contain not only vitamin A and vitamin B, which is important for pregnant women, but also plenty of vitamin C. At 38 kilocalories per 100 grams, quinces, by the way, have fewer calories than apples. As a base-forming fruit they are also ideal for a basic diet.
Healthy effect of quince
Even in ancient times, quinces were used as a remedy. The following effect is attributed to the ingredients of the quince:
- Quinces contain a lot of fiber, tannins and mucilages that are valued for their beneficial effect on digestion.
- In case of chapped or inflamed skin and sunburn, the mucilages have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect - therefore quince is also used in cosmetic products.
- The quince-containing fiber pectin lowers cholesterol levels, binds pollutants and helps the body to detoxify.
- The ingredients quercetin and pectin act as antioxidants and destroy free radicals that can damage the body's cells.
- The contained tannins and vitamin A can provide relief for gout and arteriosclerosis.
In addition, the mucilage of quince in colds, throat infections and bronchitis anti-inflammatory and expectorant.
Mucosal substances that help with coughing
The seeds of a quince contain large amounts of mucilage, which help against sore throats and coughing. If quince kernels are softened and boiled in some water, so-called quince slime is formed. Drunk, this relieves the coughing.
The dried kernels can also be sucked like cough sweets. You should not bite them, however, as they contain toxic hydrogen cyanide and also taste very bitter. Therefore, for safety's sake, always discuss the medical use of quince seeds with your doctor first.
Quince mucus relieves inflammation
Quince mucus not only calms an irritated neck, it also has a general anti-inflammatory effect and speeds up wound healing. Therefore, the quince mucus is also used in the form of envelopes against burns, dermatitis, sore nipples and hemorrhoids or as a face mask on stressed skin.
Drunk, the mucus also helps against inflammation of the intestine and the gastric mucosa and constipation, because it has a laxative effect. The quince tea cooked from the kernels is also recommended against bad breath.
Do not eat quinces raw
The quince varieties available in this country are not suitable for raw consumption. They are not poisonous, but mostly hard, woody and bitter. The aromatic fleshy taste of the pulp unfolds while the acids and bitter substances disappear.
Before preparation, the bitter down is rubbed off with a coarse cloth. Then sauté the quince, cut into small pieces and cook by cooking or baking. In order not to destroy the vitamins by heat, you can also cook the quinces gently in a pressure pot. The cooked quince pieces can be processed at will.
Process to jelly, juice or bread
Quinces are usually cooked to quince jelly or quince marmalade. The contained pectin supports the gelling process, so less gelling sugar is needed than usual and quince jam has comparatively few calories.
However, quinces can also be well-juiced and used to make quince juice and alcoholic quince liqueur or quince wine. Baked the fruit are used in desserts and cakes.
The fruits are also popular as quince chutney, quince bread and as a side dish to meat dishes. So that the quinces do not turn brown during processing, they are sprinkled with lemon juice.
Quinces are often available at the weekly market or at the greengrocer. When buying, make sure that the quince has a rich, yellow color, an intense scent, and little fluff.
Small spots on the peel are not bad, but bruises make the fruit spoil quickly. Quinces are harvested just before they reach maturity, before their meat turns grainy and the pectin content decreases.
Store and freeze
Always store quinces separately from other fruits as they easily transfer their flavor. At room temperature, the fruits ripen. Cool, dry, dark and airy, they last up to eight weeks. Ripe quinces hold in the fridge for about a week.
For freezing fresh fruits are unsuitable, they should be peeled and blanched before. If stored too long, quinces may turn brown inside and should then be quickly boiled. But be sure to dispose of them if the meat is mushy and rotten.
Grow the quince tree by yourself
If you have your own quince tree or quince tree, you should observe the fruits in the harvest season between September and November: The correct harvest time is when the shell changes from green to yellow and still has little fluff. Make sure that the quinces do not get any bruises when harvesting and storing.
Popular plants are also the similar-looking ornamental quinces whose fruits are also edible and how quinces can be processed.
Recipe tip: quince bread
Quince bread is a popular Spanish dessert that only has the name in common with bread. To prepare, grate the grated, pitted and crushed quinces in water and a little lemon juice for 30 to 40 minutes.
The quinces are sieved and while the sifted mass can be boiled into quince jelly, the pieces are used for the quince bread. These are pureed, boiled with the same amount of sugar over medium heat for 45 to 60 minutes and finally spread on a greased baking tray. Depending on the taste, the mus can be seasoned with honey, ginger or cinnamon.
With the oven door slightly open, the mass is dried at 100 degrees for about four hours. Then cut the gelatinous layer into lozenges and roll it into powdered sugar or almonds - the delicious dessert of quince is ready.