Quince is a great source of vitamin C and a good source of fiber, potassium and iron. Due to the high pectin content, it is rarely eaten raw. Rather, it is popular for making special jams and, since it holds shape well, is popular for baking, stewing or poaching as a dessert. Rich in fiber, quince aids digestion and lowers elevated blood sugar and cholesterol. Vitamin C helps protect cells (including blood vessel and immune cells) from oxidative damage by free radicals. This makes the immune and circulatory systems function more efficiently and helps maintain the body’s biochemical balance. Some studies suggest the phytonutrients (phenolics) in quince have anti-viral properties.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – C
Minerals – Copper, Potassium and Iron
Quince may help treat or lower the risk of heart disease, arthritis, constipation, dysentery and gastric ulcers.
How to Grow
Cousin to the pear, quince needs a moderate climate much like peaches to set fruit. Depending on variety, size will range from a large shrub to a small tree. They produce large, beautiful flowers in spring. Flowering a bit later than pears, the risk of frost damage is lower. Quinces take roughly 4 years for a light harvest. After 8 years, the harvest reaches full potential and can be quite large. You can find them in the local nursery in bare rooted form or propagated by cuttings of suckers from other quince plants. They are self-fertile; only one is needed for fruit production. They prefer a sunny site and heavier soil with a pH of 6-6.5 on a slight slope for good drainage. Work in a modest amount of plant mix to the site. Plant the tree and scatter a couple handfuls per square meter of planting mix over the root zone. Mulch over where roots will grow, keeping mulch at least 1 foot from the trunk. Water more frequently at first to get established. When watering, keep going until water reaches deep into the soil. This prevents roots from wanting to grow upward and protects them from drying out. Each spring reapply a couple handfuls of plant mix to encourage growth. Quinces are ripe when they are full yellow color and begin to smell sweet. Harvest and use immediately or store in a cool dry place.
Common pests for quince include aphids, wooly aphids, winter moth, coddling moth, sawfly and wasps. Remove aphids with a strong spray of water or by companion planting French marigolds, which attracts hoverflies and ladybugs that prey on aphids. Wooly aphids are more difficult. They are hard to treat with sprays, because they cover themselves in a white waxy layer. As soon as you see these layers, scrape them off. If that fails, spray with a strong stream of rotenone after flowers have fallen. As a last resort, cut them out. Cover excess bare wood. Female winter moths have no wings and crawl up the tree to lay eggs in fall and spring. The best way to stop them is to tie a sticky band around the lower trunk during egg laying seasons. Coddling moths lay their eggs directly on the fruit, which give rise to tiny grubs that burrow directly into the fruit. Use a pheromone trap to control. Sawfly do damage as small brown caterpillars. As soon as you see them, spray with an insecticide like Bt, pyrethrum, or quassia. Wasps can be deterred by hanging a jar full of a sweet liquid (cider, stale beer, fruit juice) with a perforated top just big enough for the wasp to crawl in. Before taking these precautionary steps, ask the nursery which pests are most threatening in your area.
Throughout growth, cut out the old wood and thin the long branches to encourage lateral growth. Remove the suckers that pop up from the base.