Last year (2010) we decided that we would like to try growing a quince.
We didn’t know much about them but the tree looked really attractive. It has white and pink flowers that look a little like miniature dog roses. The flowers open about the same time as apple blossom but are said to be more susceptible to frost damage. The leaves too are attractive having a slight felty look when they are young. We figured that even if it turned out that we didn’t like the fruit that we could enjoy the look of the tree.
We settled on the variety Meeches Prolific – any variety with the word prolific in its name seemed worth giving a try.
Quince are related to pears and many including the variety that we chose have pear-shaped fruits.
Generally speaking, quinces need the same sort of conditions as apples and pears and also suffer from similar pests and diseases.
The tree arrived in January so was planted in a large pot and kept in our cold greenhouse until conditions improved. The album below shows the progress of our quince tree.
In it’s first year the tree only produced a couple of fruits which were unfortunately not really good enough to use but this year it achieved about fourteen fruits.
Quinces are very hard and can't be eaten raw so we wondered how we were going to use the fruit. We don’t really use jams and jellies and so wondered how we would actually eat our quinces so I searched the Internet and found quite a few recipes that use quince in desserts.
We made a quince and apple crumble with the first quinces that we picked. Basically you can make your favourite apple crumble recipe and just substitute quince for some of the apples.
As the fruit cooked the kitchen was filled with a honey like fragrance and the honey theme continued in the taste of the fruit. It tasted delicious and as I have never seen quinces for sale the decision to grow a quince tree was a good one! Apparently quince will store for two to three months in a dark frost free place but I can’t see us finding out whether this is true or not – well with only fourteen fruits not this year at least.