Quince

Botanical Name : Pyrus cydonia
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribe: Maleae
Subtribe: Malinae
Genus: Cydonia
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonym: Cydonia vulgaris (PERS.).

Common Names: Quince

Habitat :. The quince tree is native to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan and was introduced to Poland, Syria, Lebanon, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Turkey, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria.

It grows on  rocky slopes and woodland margins in South-west Asia, Turkey and Iran  although it can be grown successfully at latitudes as far north as Scotland. It should not be confused with its relative, the Flowering Quince, (Chaenomeles).

Description:
Quince  is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES……..TREE.…..BUSH…...RED FLOWERS..…...BlOOMING  QUINCE…….QUINCE FRUIT
The tree grows 5 to 8 metres (16 and a half feet to 26 feet) high and 4 to 6 metres (13 feet to 19 and a half feet) wide. The fruit is 7 to 12 centimetres (3 to 5 inches) long and 6 to 9 centimetres (2 to 3 and a half inches) across.

Edible Uses:
Most varieties of quince are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw unless ‘bletted’ (softened by frost and subsequent decay). High in pectin, they are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed. The Pectin level diminishes as they ripen. The flesh of the fruit turns red after a long cooking time. The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavour. Adding a diced quince to apple sauce will enhance the taste of the apple sauce with the chunks of relatively firm, tart quince. The term “marmalade”, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from “marmelo,” the Portuguese word for this fruit.

The fruit, like so many others, can be used to make a type of wine. Because of its often high acidity, which is mainly due to its malic acid content, these wines are usually sweet dessert wines that are high in alcohol. In the Balkans and elsewhere, quince brandy and quince liqueur are made. In Carolina in 1709, John Lawson allowed that he was “not a fair judge of the different sorts of Quinces, which they call Brunswick, Portugal and Barbary”, but he noted “of this fruit they make a wine or liquor which they call Quince-Drink, and which I approve of beyond any that their country affords, though a great deal of cider and perry is there made, The Quince-Drink most commonly purges.

Varieties of quince, such as ‘Kuganskaya,’ have been developed that do not require cooking and are eaten raw.

In Iran, quince, called beh , is used raw or in stews and some regional soups. It is also made into jam or preserve. The extra syrup in the jam-making process is saved and made into a refreshing Summer drink by adding cold water and a few drops of lime to it. It can also be found pickled.

In Italy it is used as the main ingredient of some local variants of a traditional food called mostarda (not to be confused with mustard), in which quince fruit jam is mixed with candied fruit, spices and flavorings to produce a spread that is used on boiled meat, mixed with cheese etc. Examples are “mostarda vicentina” or “mostarda di Vicenza” and “mostarda veneta.” Quinces are also used in Parma to produce a typical liqueur called sburlone, word coming from the local dialect and meaning the necessary high stress to squeeze those hard fruits to obtain their juice.

In Albania, Kosovo and Bulgaria quince are eaten raw during the winter.

In Lebanon and Syria, it is called sfarjel and also used to make jam- Mrabba sfarjal. In Syria, quince is cooked in pomegranate paste (dibs rouman) with shank meat and kibbeh (a Middle Eastern meat pie with burghul and mince meat) and is called kibbeh safarjalieh. In Pakistan, quinces are stewed with sugar until they turn bright red. The resulting stewed quince, called muraba is then preserved in jars and eaten like jam. In Morocco, when the fruit is available, it is a popular ingredient in a seasonal lamb tajine and is cooked together with the meat and flavoured with cinnamon and other herbs and spices.

In Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela the membrillo, as the quince is called in Spanish, is cooked into a reddish, jelly-like block or firm, reddish paste known as dulce de membrillo. It is then eaten in sandwiches and with cheese, traditionally manchego cheese, or accompanying fresh curds. In Portugal, a similar sweet is called marmelada, hence marmalade in English. It is also produced and consumed in Hungary, where it is called birsalmasajt, “quince cheese”. The sweet and floral notes of carne de membrillo (quince meat) contrast nicely with the tanginess of the cheese.   Boiled quince is also popular in desserts such as the murta con membrillo that combines Ugni molinae with quince. Similar dishes exist in Dalmatia and other parts of Croatia.

In the Alsace region of France and the Valais region of Switzerland, liqueur de coing made from quince is used as a digestif.

In Morocco green quince is cooked in a tajine with beef or lamb,sweetened slightly with sugar and flavored with cinnamon.

Quince can also be used as a tea additive to mainly green tea, giving it a rather sweetish taste.

In Kashmir quince is cooked with lamb and served in weddings to guests.

In Taiwan yellow quinces are often confused with pomelos

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In Tajikistan, quince is used in cooking oshi palov. Quince jam is known as murabboi bihigi and also made in many parts of the country.

Medicinal Uses:

Chemical Constituents: The cotyledons contain about 15 per cent fixed oil and protein, together with small proportions of amygdalin and emulsion or some allied ferment. The chief constituent of the seed is about 10 per cent mucilage, contained in the seed-coat. The pulp of the fruit contains 3 to 3.5 per cent of malic acid.

The phytochemistry of quince is under study for several possible medical uses.

A syrup prepared from the fruit may be used as agrateful addition to drinks in sickness, especially in looseness of the bowels, which it is said to restrain by its astringency.

The seeds may be used medicinally for the sake of the mucilage they yield. When soaked in water they swell up and form a mucilaginous mass. This mucilage is analogous to, and has the same properties as, that which is formed from the seeds of the flax – linseed.

The seeds somewhat resemble apple-pips in size and appearance. They are of a dark brown colour, flattened on two sides, owing to mutual pressure and frequently adhere to one another by a white mucilage, which is derived from the epidermal cells of the seedcoats. The seed contains two firm, yellowishwhite cotyledons, which have a faintly bitter taste resembling that of bitter almonds.

In subcontinental Indo-Pakistan, quince seeds are known as Bihi Dana. They are used by herbalists for mucus rashes and ulcerations. A gel prepared from the seeds soaked in water is used for throat and vocal cord inflammation as well as for skin rashes and allergies.

In Malta, a jam is made from the fruit. According to local tradition, a teaspoon of the jam dissolved in a cup of boiling water relieves intestinal discomfort.

In Iran and parts of Afghanistan, the quince seeds are collected and boiled and then ingested to combat pneumonia.

Other Uses:
Quince is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including brown-tail, Bucculatrix bechsteinella, Bucculatrix pomifoliella, Coleophora cerasivorella, Coleophora malivorella, green pug and winter moth.

Cultural associations:

*In Turkey, the expression  yemek (literally “to eat the quince”) is used as a derogatory term indicating any unpleasant situation or a malevolent incident to avoid. This usage is likened to the rather bitter aftertaste of a quince fruit inside the mouth.

*When a baby is born in Slavonia (Croatia), a quince tree is planted as a symbol of fertility, love and life.

*Ancient Greek poets (Ibycus, Aristophanes, e.g.) used quinces (kydonia) as a mildly ribald term for teenage breasts.

*Although the book of Genesis does not name the specific type of the fruit that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden, some ancient texts suggest Eve’s fruit of temptation might have been a quince.

*In Plutarch’s Lives, Solon is said to have decreed that “bride and bridegroom shall be shut into a chamber, and eat a quince together.

Known Hazards:
The seeds contain nitriles, which are common in seeds of the rose family. In the stomach, enzymes or stomach acid or both cause some of the nitriles to be hydrolyzed and produce hydrogen cyanide, which is a volatile gas. The seeds are only likely to be toxic if a large quantity is eaten.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/q/quince04.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cydonia_%28plant%29

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