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QUINCE - The sole member of the genus Cydonia in the Rosaceae Family (the same family as Apples and Pears).

An old-fashioned small-ish tree, mainly planted by our grandparents, it was once-upon-a-time used for thickening jams and jellies very similar to the way a pectin works.

The fruit is not really edible upon picking like an apple or a pear; it is tough, spongy and very hard to slice.  It really has no flavor.  

But there is a secret in preparing this fruit.

If you place a golden yellow Quince on the window sill, within a few days you will smell a lovely vanilla/citrus fragrance permeating the room as it ripens.  If you peel and(carefully) cut up a Quince into slices and simmer it in either a little sugar water or wine, it will become sweet, fragrant and delicate; it will turn from a light yellow color to a rosy pink.

The Spaniards make a sweet-spicy paste called "Membrillo" that pairs well with Manchego cheese or any cheese made from Sheep milk.  Membrillo normally comes in a slab or block but can also be made spreadable for crackers or toast.

The Quince is hardy here in the PNW; it is a rather small tree and is drought tolerant once established.  The blossoms are a lovely pink.  The fruit becomes ripe in Fall.  

In the ornamental world there is a shrub called a "Flowering Quince".  It rarely produces fruit, but this large shrub instead is covered in rich, coral pink blooms in the early Spring.  It is a great shrub for cutting and bringing into force bloom.  There are now hybrids that will bloom in a variety of colors and produce shrubs that are smaller in size.  The fruit that it might produce is quite small and not really edible.

You can find Quince tree stock at One Green World, Raintree Nursery for starters. 

For more information on how to use this interesting fruit go to

Do you know someone who grows a Quince tree?  How do they use the fruit in a useful way?

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