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With all due respect, the quince is one of the most popular types of fruit that are boiled down and processed into numerous sweet fruit products. Cydonia oblonga has been known for over 4,000 years and was first cultivated in the Caucasus region, from where it spreads to southern Europe, Asia and even Argentina. In Europe, the quince is made into jam, liqueur or compote, but is it possible to eat the quince raw?

Can quinces be eaten raw?

The question of whether quinces can be eaten raw can be answered with a yes and no. The reason: the cultivation area. Quinces grown in Central Europe cannot be eaten raw, as they develop a lot of bitter substances due to the few hours of sunshine and cool temperatures, which ruin the sweet pleasure. In the original distribution area, however, the fruits ripen with less bitter substances, which makes it possible to eat them directly. Theoretically, you could eat every quince without preparation, but old varieties in particular have a lot of bitter substances and extremely hard skins. It is better to rely on new breeds and proven varieties that counteract this problem.

tip: In south-eastern Europe, South America, the Caucasus and Turkey, quinces are mostly eaten raw because the plants there receive sufficient sun and thus become sweeter and softer. If you find fresh quinces at a market while on holiday, you should definitely try them out.

Varieties eaten raw

If you don't want to heat Cydonia oblonga, but want to enjoy it like an apple or pear, you should try different varieties or grow them yourself. A large part of these can be found as cultivated forms, while the other part are classic varieties from South America or the area around the Black and Caspian Seas, more rarely the Mediterranean Sea. Due to the numerous hours of sunshine and higher climate, these are better tolerated in the raw state. The following list gives you an overview of the varieties that you can eat raw:

  • 'raw food'
  • 'honey quince'
  • 'shirin'
  • ,Orange'
  • 'Aromatnaya'
  • 'Karp's Sweet'
  • 'crime'
  • 'Kuganskaya'
  • 'Miagkoplodnaya Volgogradskaya'

One thing that all of these strains have in common is the aroma. They are reminiscent of sour apples, but are flourier. Some varieties such as 'Orange' also have a gentle citrus aroma that spreads pleasantly in the mouth. According to experience, the varieties 'Karp's Sweet' from Argentina and 'Miagkoplodnaja Volgogradskaja', the "soft-fleshed", are particularly aromatic and popular. 'Crimea', on the other hand, is a bit bland in taste, while 'Kuganskaya' is a bit harder and more bitter and therefore not quite as popular. The easiest to get in Germany are the varieties 'Rohköstler', 'Shirin' from Turkey and 'Honigquitte'. With a bit of luck you can find them in the nearest delicatessen.

tip: You probably won't find many of the varieties mentioned above at the greengrocer, health food store or supermarket around the corner. It is best to contact fruit importers or online shops that offer exotic, tropical or Mediterranean fruits.

Eat quinces raw

If you have a quince in your garden and want to try its fruit, that's no problem. The fruits are not harmful to health, but because of the tannins, children in particular can belch them, so they should perhaps refrain from eating them raw. If you use one of the varieties mentioned above, that is of course not a problem. Only the following parts of the Cydonia oblonga plant are harmful and not suitable for consumption:

  • Down: contains most of the bitter substances
  • Seeds: contain a high content of hydrocyanic acid

You can eat the rest of the quince whole, especially the types already mentioned. With other cultivars, the skin is often very hard and the flesh is woody, which makes it useful to process it into compotes, purees, juices and more. However, all quince varieties are prepared for consumption in the same way to make them edible.

Quince with fluff

Prepare quinces

The following instructions will help you to treat the fruit so that you can eat it directly in order to reduce the bitterness:

1. Start by making the fluff, covering the skin of the quinces. For this she is not washed off, but simply rubbed down. To rub, use either a cotton cloth or a vegetable brush. Traditionally, brass brushes are used to prepare quinces, but these damage the skin, which is a shame, especially for varieties that can be eaten raw. The reason: This removes vitamins from the shell.

2. The next point differs depending on the variety. If you have any of the above varieties available, you don't have to pre-consume them peel. With other varieties, however, it is important to peel them as the skin is very hard and bitter. Use either a knife or a vegetable peeler for this. You can peel quinces like apples or pears.

3. Now cut the quince in half so you have access to that core to have. You have to remove this completely, because unlike the cores of apples, the quince seeds are not edible. Be careful never to eat the seeds together with the quince. The high salary hydrogen cyanide can be harmful in larger amounts, especially for children and sensitive people.

4. You can then either slice or dice the quince and enjoy like an apple or pear. If you have large quantities of quinces available, you should definitely boil some and use them to conjure up sweet spreads or jams, as this allows the fruits to develop their full aroma.

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