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Some scientists believe that a certain ancient text indicates that quince was the fruit that Eve ate from the tree of knowledge.
Other interesting facts state that when a baby boy is born in Slavonia (Croatia – Europe), someone from the family plants a quince tree as a symbol of fertility, love and life.
Akkadians were familiar with quince and their usage as a remedy.
In the ancient Greek weddings, a quince was a fruit of ritual offering because it came from the Levant with goddess Aphrodite, who considered it sacred. It was a custom and Plutarch documented it, that a Greek bride would nibble a quince before entering the bridal chamber.
Paris awarded Aphrodite with quince.
The famous Roman cookbook of Apicius gives recipes with quinces.
Atlanta paused in her race because of a golden quince.
Some suggest that in Song of Songs it may have been a quince instead of apple.
In the middle ages, the quince became a symbol of love and fertility, and people served it at wedding feasts.
Quince is a fruit of the Rosaceae family, the only fruiting tree in the genus Cydonia. Cydonia oblonga, the distant relative of apples and pears, is native to Asia Minor, although today is cultivated almost all around the world. On the medium-sized semitropical trees, that can grow up to 15 feet in height, in the spring and the early summer, one can find pink-white flowers. From these flowers, a golden yellow pear-shaped fruit will grow.
Quince is more significant than an apple, somewhat like large avocado, but to most of the people, the best comparison is a short-necked pear. Its surface is smooth as in peaches. This often thought as bitter fruit can weigh about 250 to 750 grams or even more. Inside, its light yellow flesh has seeds concentrated at the center as in apples.
Quince has a strong smell, after ripening, quince astringent and tart, and people used it in the old houses, or rooms with old furniture, as a scent and refresher.
It is rarely eaten raw, usually used in cooking to make jellies and marmalade. Avoid green, immature quince, they are sour, bitter and inedible.
The Nutrient Value of Quince
The nutrient value of quince is remarkable; it is very rich in vitamins and minerals.
100 grams of quince contains:
- Calcium – 8 mg
- Iron – 0.7 mg
- Magnesium – 8 mg
- Phosphorus – 17 mg
- Potassium – 197 mg
- Sodium – 4 mg
- Vitamin C – 15.0 mg
- Vitamin A – 40 μg
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) – 0.2 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.04 mg
- Folate (Vitamin B9) – 8 μg
- Carbohydrates – 15.3 gm
- Sugars – 12.53 gm
- Dietary fiber – 1.9 gm
- Fat – 0.10 gm
- Protein – 0.4 gm
- Water – 83.8 gm
Quince pulp and peel contains a good amount of fiber, its granules in the pulp are composed of a compound known as tannin, in particular, catechin and epicatechin. It has compounds such as caffeoylquinic acid, oligomeric procyanidin, procyanidin-B2, and polymeric procyanidin.
Quince is also rich in essential oils like furfural, vomifoliol, toluene, limonene, linalol, β-ionone, and α-terpineol. This fruit is also a good source of copper (130 µg).
Health Benefits of Quince
Quince has anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. This fruit and fruits similar to this one are suggested in the treatment of atopic dermatitis and cystitis.
Quince is excellent at protecting the mucous membrane from inflammatory bowel disease, cancers, and diverticulitis. It helps reduce body weight due to its dietary fiber.
Its antioxidant characteristics helps the body fight against free radicals.
Researchers have shown that quince is of additional help to those who suffer from gastric ulcers. Quince is shown to help reduce the risk of cancer. Regular consumption of quince aids in digestion and helps lower the cholesterol level.
Due to vitamin C, quince helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Quince, in general, is great for everyone who wishes to maintain optimum health, especially for those who need to maintain concentration and reduce stress.
Quince leaves are useful against diarrhea, taken as a tea.
To sum up, quince can heal:
- High blood pressure
- Hepatic insufficiency
- Liver and eye diseases
- Skin infections
Treatments with Quince Juice
Quince juice is known to have antiseptic, analeptic, tonic, astringent, and diuretic properties. The juice is also believed to be an anti-emetic remedy.
Researchers have documented that quince juice is good for treating:
- Respiratory illnesses
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract
- Runny noses
- Lung diseases
- Uterine bleeding
Fresh quince juice helps treat pancreatic insufficiency. Half a glass of fresh juice, three times a day, is an excellent remedy.
Colitis can be treated with mashed quince, honey and mixed breeds. One pound per day can fight it.
If you eat half of the quince on an empty stomach, you can make morning nausea disappear.
Frostbites are treated with a tablespoon of quince seeds and 200 ml of water. This mixture should soak for two or three hours. Strain it after and apply locally.
To reduce the sugar level in diabetes, take two tablespoons of chopped leaves and twigs, three times a day.
For high blood pressure, take 20 drops of quince tincture twice a day.
To reduce freckles and clean oily skin, use quince juice. Soak cotton wool into the fresh quince juice and apply it on your face.
Balms and oils made from quince leaves and flowers can help strengthen the hair.
Remember that quince seeds are poisonous and should not be eaten. The seeds contain nitriles (RCN), common in seeds of the rose family. Some enzymes or stomach acid can cause nitriles to hydrolyze. Nitriles then produce hydrogen cyanide, which is volatile gas. The seeds are toxic when taken in large amount; however, do not experiment.
Raw fruit can sometimes cause breathing difficulty.
Hamauzu Y, et al., (2006), Antioxidant and antiulcerative properties of phenolics from
Chinese quince, quince, and apple fruits. Agric Food Chem., Feb 8, 54(3), pg. 765-72.
Murray, M. N.D., (2005) The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods, New York: Atria Books.
Image credit: DepositPhotos.com
Last article update: 9/18/2019