Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat a fresh quince?
In Australia, quinces generally aren’t eaten fresh as they are quite high in tannins that make them tart to eat raw. However, some people can eat them raw; sometimes sprinkled with salt.

When are quinces in season?
Quinces are an Autumn fruit and are generally ripening from around April – June, though some varieties ripen earlier or later than this.

Why can’t I buy them in supermarkets?
Quinces appear not to be available commercially via supermarkets, though you should be able to purchase them in season at farmers markets or specialist grocery stores.  It’s a strange fact that while quinces are hard and firm to touch, they bruise quite readily.

How should I store them?
Ripe quinces have a remarkable ability to keep for at least 2-3 months in a cool place.  Where possible, keep them in a single layer on a ventilated tray.  Otherwise, keep them covered in a refrigerator, but be aware that their strong aroma may infuse other foods.

Can I purchase a quince tree?
Quince trees are easy to grow.  There are three specialist heritage fruit tree nurseries in Australia that retail a wide variety of quince cultivars online.

How do quince varieties differ?
There are 16 known varieties of quince trees, Cydonia Oblonga, growing in Australia.  Quinces can differ when they flower; by the size, colour, shape and ripening time of the fruit; disease resistance; as well as how they cook up.

Are they the same as a Flowering Quince?
Flowering Quince, or Chaenomeles (also known as Japanese quince) is a different but related plant.  It is a shrub that has gorgeous white, cherry-red or pink flowers in winter, followed by small, very hard yellow fruits that look like a miniature quince.

Can I grow them at home?
Quinces are a small tree that will offer all-year-round interest in the garden.  They are low maintenance, can tolerate wet or dry conditions once established, and respond well to annual pruning.

How do I prepare quinces for cooking?
Simply wipe or wash any downy-covering off the fruit.  Peeling is optional as the skin is edible after cooking.  Most medium-to-large-sized fruits are quartered and cored.  

What’s the best way to cook quince fruits?
Long, slow cooking is the perfect way to cook quinces.  They can be poached, braised, or roasted whole.  Though they will colour up without a sweetener, the addition of sugar or honey and an acidulant - such as lemon juice, vinegar, wine or verjuice, helps develop a deeper red colour.  It’s not uncommon to see recipes specifying 3-4 hours, or longer, to cook the fruit.

Why do my quinces not colour up in cooking?
This could be due to a number of reasons including that some varieties simply don’t colour up as much as others, or due to a lack of sugar and/or acidulant.

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